27th June 2012
AXMINSTER: Rained off!
Festival cancelled after deluge
By Anders Larsson
Axminster’s event calendar suffered a massive blow when two festivals were cancelled because of bad weather.
Axe Vale Festival, one of the biggest and most poular one-day shows in Devon, should have been held last weekend at the showground on the outskirts of town, but organisers decided to cancel the event at a full committee meeting at mid-day on Thursday after a deluge of rain earlier in the week.
The festival. launched in 1994, has raised a total of nearly £300,000 for the Flamingo Pool and other worthy causes over the years, and had never been cancelled before.
Festival chairman Claire Morgan, new to the job this year, said: “The committee decided by a large majority and with great sadness, that the 18th Axe Vale Festival was to be cancelled.
“The committee were heavy hearted, as they considered all the possibilities, but felt, due to the deluge of rainfall from the previous night, and the excessive rainfall that morning, which was preventing the exhibitors entering the showground and the tractors which had already been deployed to start towing vehicles on and off the show ground, this was the only sensible decision.
“We would like to thank all the exhibitors and members of the public who have shown us so much support and understanding.
“We would like to confirm that anyone with advance tickets, although ordinarily non-refundable, will be honoured for our 2013 festival.
Committee members in tears
“However, should anyone have any further queries, please do not hesitate to write to or ring our festival office.”
Festival helpers manned the entrance to the showground on Saturday to inform visitors that the show was off.
Some helpers and committee members were in tears after the decision had been taken, and things didn’t improve when Axminster Chamber of Commerce decided to pull the plug on the coming weekend’s beer, music and cider festival.
The one-day event, which is a fundraiser for Axminster Tourist Information Centre, was scheduled for Saturday, June 30th at the showground.
But the decision to cancel this year was effectively taken for the organisers when Axe Vale Festival fell victim to the weather.
Chamber chairman Shane Morgan explained: “It is with great regret that Axminster Chamber of Commerce has to announce the cancellation of this years beer, cider and music festival.
“Unfortunately this is due to waterlogged ground and the preceding cancellation of the Axe Vale Festival, which provides the marques.
“We had also been very carefully watching the weather and as a result were not surprised to hear that the main show had to be abandoned.
“Everyone involved in all the events over festival fortnight is obviously bitterly disappointed.
“As far as the Chamber is concerned, we will look to arrange smaller events over the year to help supplement the funds the beer festival raises towards the running of the towns TIC.
“The town”s TIC, along with the museum, will be moving next year as part of the exiting new heritage centre project to Thomas Whitty House in Silver Street.
“We will also be involved with fundraising events here, the first of which will be a jazz evening on Saturday 4August 4th at Kilmington Cricket Ground with the Tone Valley Jazz Band.”
• AXMINSTER Horticultural Society’s annual show which always takes place at the Axe Vale Festival was also cancelled.
• AXMINSTER Young Farmer’s Club Summer Ball, which was due to be staged in one of the festival marquees, has been switched to Axminster Guildhall on Friday, June 29th.
PICTURE 1: DEEP TROUBLE - Festival helper Karen Pethybridge at one of the exhibition plots on Thursday afternoon
PICTURE 2: CALENDAR GIRLS - Members of Devon Dumplings launched their charity calendar in aid of “Soldiers Off The Street” at the Axe Vale Festival committee’s get-together on Saturday evening
PICTURE 3: IN VAIN - Mart Neginger and her team from Burrow Farm Gardens, Dalwood, had made considerable progress on a garden creation when the decision to cancel was taken
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