Splendour festival ‘guaranteed for next five years’ after 2024 event cancelled

Singer-songwriter Craig David performs at Splendour in 2022 (LDRS)
By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter

Nottingham’s Splendour festival has now been “effectively guaranteed for the next five years” after the 2024 event was cancelled.

The popular festival has been held at Nottingham City Council’s Wollaton Hall and Deer Park since 2007.

Previous acts have included Noel Gallagher, Jess Glynne, Paloma Faith, Craig David, Razorlight, the Kaiser Chiefs and the city’s own Jake Bugg.

In January, DHP Family, which was previously contracted to run the festival, announced there would be no 2024 event due to delays in negotiations with the council over a new deal.

During a meeting on June 11, councillors agreed to allow officers to conclude negotiations with DHP over a new contract from 2025 to 2029.

DHP Family says it is “very pleased” Splendour’s future has been secured.

Cllr Linda Woodings (Lab), executive member for finance and resources, said: “So effectively this guarantees we will have Splendour at Wollaton Park for five years from next year until 2029.

“Of course for this year it hasn’t gone ahead, and that is disappointing for people, [but] we have got a substantial number of other events taking place.”

Craig David performs at Splendour in 2022 (LDRS)

The council, which declared itself effectively bankrupt last year, said it had been contributing “substantial financial and non-financial contributions to set up and establish the Splendour festival”.

It estimates it contributed around £2m to the festival, and the authority says it was looking to reduce financial risks.

Commissioners, who were appointed to help run the council in February, will also be looking to ensure best value is achieved in all of the authority’s operations.

To make sure this was being achieved, the council began a tendering process to find an operator for the festival in 2023, and it was during this process delays were encountered.

In January this year George Akins, DHP’s managing director, said: “We have tried hard to make Splendour work in 2024 but the delays caused by the tendering process have meant this just hasn’t been possible.

“It has been a hugely frustrating time for us. Splendour could have gone ahead had the council heeded our warnings about the time-scales required.”

According to council documents it is estimated the festival will turn over almost £11.8m in the next five years.

Stephen Chartres, performance and improvement manager, added: “We’ve got delegated approval to undertake a full tendering process for a five-year contract for a two-day festival.

“A compliance and procurement process was undertaken during May to October 2023, where DHP were identified as the preferred supplier.

“Due to delays in the negotiation in terms of that, the decision was made by DHP not to proceed for 2024.

“So this report is really just to come back to say it is effectively the same contract, just delayed, and it is still open for a five-year period starting 2025.”

Councillors agreed to delegate authority to officers to conclude negotiations and finalise the contract with DHP during Tuesday’s meeting.

Other events coming up this year at Wollaton Hall and Deer Park include Live at the Hall in August and the Archery GB National Tour in September.

In a statement on June 11, DHP’s Mr Akins added: “We’re very pleased that the future of Splendour Festival at Wollaton Park has been secured, and we look forward to working alongside Nottingham City Council to deliver many great events in the years to come.

“Our plans for Splendour 2025 will be revealed soon, watch this space.”

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