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Summer Pops collapses

The big stripey tent will be staying in its big stripey bag this year as the city council pulls the plug on the Summer Pops

Published on April 24th 2007.

Summer Pops collapses

Liverpool's annual Summer Pops music festival will not take place this year after the cash-strapped city council axed funding.

The two-week event, which has previously provided Liverpool's only opportunity to see world renowned acts including James Brown, Elton John and Diana Ross, has cost the council £3m since 2001.

Three events firms, including the existing Summer Pops promoters CMP and also Creamfields, who are running the Knowsley Hall Music Festival in the summer, tendered bids to run the show, but it was found that a subsidy of £750,000 would be required from the council. Creamfields are still hopeful that they can help save the event. “It would be a real disappointment for thousands of people if Liverpool was to lose the Pops and we want to prevent that from happening,” said CEO James Barton.

Warren Bradley, council leader, said: "We cannot commit to the Summer Pops when we are also having to find money to protect vital frontline services for the people of Liverpool.”

The RLPO launched the event in the 1990s when the Philharmonic Hall was closed for a major makeover.

It started as a series of classical family-orientated concerts in a big top at Kings Dock.

But costs rocketed when the event was forced to move to more remote Central Docks because of the construction of the new riverside arena at Kings Dock.

Cllr Bradley added, without irony, that the new 10,000-seat dockside arena might enable the Summer Pops to return as a more profitable venture and that there were "hundreds of other events" this year to celebrate the city's 800th birthday.

Staff at CMP were said to be saddened by the announcement, although they could understand the reasons.

Local hacks, meanwhile, who have come to enjoy free tickets and VIP hospitality for the council bankrolled series of gigs, were distraught.

One sobbing reporter told Liverpool Confidential: “I was hoping to blag tickets for The Australian Pink Floyd this year. Now I'll have to see if I can talk up the people who are doing the Knowsley Hall festival instead. But The Who are playing there, and I've seen them already. I don't know what to do. I'm gutted.”

So farewell then, Summer Pops. Wherever and however you end up, you just won't be the same without the big stripey tent.

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