ONE of Rye’s biggest festival events has folded due to lack of funding.
Rye Maritime Festival, which has run for eight years, saw hundreds of people packing onto the quayside to view decorated boats.
It included a barbecue, live music, displays and stalls.
Festival chairman Charles Bronsdon blamed Rye Town Council for refusing a £500 grant application.
Councillors on the policy and resources committee felt the festival should be self-financing by now and that it would be possible to increase revenue from bar and food sales.
Mr Bronsdon said: “This was the last remaining free festival in Rye and it will probably have to be cancelled this year.
“The reason is due to our Rye Town councillors who have decided in their wisdom that they will no longer help to support it financially by rejecting in
total our grant application.
“The Festival started from a very small event and has grown with a lot of hard work over the years to become one of the town’s major summer attractions.
It has taken a lot of hard work by a very small team to achieve this. It is therefore very sad to see it finish due to the short sightedness by some of our elected town councillors.
“The Festival is purely supported by the good will of local businesses and local sailing clubs and in the past by a grant from the town council. Without this council grant we are unable to finance the event.
“The Festival is organised by a small group who give their services for no monetary gain to try to enhance the Town of Rye during the summer, by providing free entertainment for our residents and summer tourists, as well as by encouraging yachts from around the coast, and additional maritime visitors from across the Channel.
“All the time these maritime visitors and tourists are here they spend money, whether it’s in the local restaurants, or hotels, or just by buying food. It’s all money for Rye’s economy as well as enhancing the reputation of the town itself.
“A minority of councillors have always been ‘anti’ the festival and it would appear this year they have their wish.
“The council should be encouraging this type of event not discouraging it as they seem to be doing. They seem to forget that’s it’s our money to be spent for the benefit of our town, a town that to a large degree depends on tourism, and it is events of this type that encourage visitors to come to Rye.