The man who helped save Huddersfield’s Food and Drink Festival has resigned as chairman of the group which organised it.
Nadio Granata, chairman of Huddersfield Live, the not-for-profit events firm which staged the highly successful four day festival, resigned on Friday evening saying new commitments meant he was now based in London and unable to devote time to attending its meetings.
One of the founding members, he stepped in when the St George’s Square festival, which this year drew more than 120,000 people to sample a wide range of culinary delights, had been threatened with the axe due to the £145,000 annual cost of staging it.
He said this year’s festival, Huddersfield’s 17th, would probably make a small profit and that it had attracted more visitors than ever.
And, fresh from a meeting with Kirklees Council officers who congratulated him on this year’s festival’s success, he said it was the right time to go and he was happy to hand over the reins to Sam Watt, director of Huddersfield Live and landlady of The Star pub at Folly Hall.
Nadio, a marketing guru, who has also resigned as a Teaching Fellow at Leeds University’s Business School, is a founder member of the festival.
He said: “I remember the very first festival when there was just me, Nadio’s Pizzas of Paddock, Biloo of the Kabana curry restaurant in Trinity Street, a Greek restaurant, Chez Nico, and a burger van.
“We set up opposite The Head of Steam and the rain got into my plug socket and blew the fuse for everyone. It was the coldest, wettest, most miserable three days of my life but we returned the following year, the sun shone, the crowds came and we never looked back.”
He said Kirklees had invited Huddersfield Live to apply again to run the festival but said there was no guarantee it would succeed as other companies may also apply. Huddersfield Live’s formal application will be submitted over the next few weeks but it won’t be until November when the council makes its decision.
Nadio said: “I am glad Sam has agreed to take over the reins. I have complete confidence in her abilities.
“She is a bundle of energy and ideas and has an eye for detail that is second to none. Of course, I will still be around in an advisory capacity.
“If Huddersfield Live are successful then the festival will continue with the same winning formula though there will be a few changes around the edges. It will look and feel very similar.”