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Morecambe Carnival: "It's probably the end"

The Morecambe Carnival is unlikely to return

The head of the Morecambe Carnival organising team says the popular event is unlikely to continue in the future.

David Brayshaw said the carnival would not happen in 2023 and it was "probably the end of the event, certainly with us involved".

Mr Brayshaw and his wife Carla, from Heysham, headed a committee of residents and businesspeople who brought the carnival back to Morecambe almost a decade ago.

He told Beyond Radio that "we cannot raise sufficient funds to put on the carnival this year".

"It was great while it lasted and hopefully it’s created some great memories for people; it certainly has for us!"

The Brayshaws, backed by The Bay radio station, led a triumphant return for the annual celebration on Morecambe Promenade in 2014.

The carnival had been absent from the town's events calendar for many years after being scrapped at the turn of the century.

Tens of thousands of people enjoyed the revamped Morecambe Carnival - which included the traditional parade of floats (pictured below), a main stage in the Promenade Arena featuring big-name pop acts, a fireworks finale and other events.

The carnival went from strength to strength between 2014 and 2019, bringing top singers and bands to Morecambe including Alesha Dixon (pictured below performing at the carnival in 2016), Scouting for Girls, Martine McCutcheon, Toploader, Shayne Ward, Gabrielle, S Club and Toyah.

The Covid pandemic, though, meant Morecambe Carnival could not take place in 2020 and 2021.

Last year the Brayshaws announced the 2022 event was called off too, saying this was "due to ongoing uncertainty around Covid and the imminent development of Morecambe Promenade by Eden North".

David Brayshaw is pictured below, right, with his wife Carla, left, and their friends Debbie and Mike Hutton from the carnival committee.

In summer 2022, Mr Brayshaw inquired about booking the central Promenade area and the nearby 'Arena', where the main stage and other activities are usually located, hoping to hold the carnival in August 2023.

However Lancaster City Council told him in September 2022 they were not allowing the site to be booked, as the land was designated for the Eden Project.

Mr Brayshaw said this left the event "in limbo" and by the time the council said they would allow bookings after all, circumstances had changed.

"The problem we then found was that a lot of infrastructure (stage, sound etc) was booked as were most acts," he said.

"This had the effect of increasing our costs as we had to search for other suppliers and act prices had soared.

"In addition, we found that businesses were more reluctant to hand over money to support events such as ours."

A spokesperson for Lancaster City Council said: “Due to uncertainty of when the funding announcement for Eden was going to be made, and the potential for works to take place during 2023, event bookings for the central promenade were initially put on hold in late 2022 until the picture became clearer.

“We have since been able to clarify that that the area can remain available for event organisers until the end of the summer season and, for example, tender documents are in the process of being finalised for the fairground.

“We would be more than happy to take the booking for the carnival in 2023. The space was provisionally booked with the organisers, but they have subsequently informed us they no longer wish to go ahead.”

The main stage at Morecambe Carnival in 2017. Photo by Mike Jackson.

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