Nottingham’s annual Bonfire Night and firework display event has been cancelled as costs have doubled since 2019.
Nottingham City Council has reluctantly taken the decision due to the significantly increased costs of staging the event, which was scheduled to be held at the Forest Recreation Ground on Sunday 5 November.
Set against the context of wider budgetary pressures facing the authority, it was felt that putting on the bonfire and fireworks would unfortunately not be viable.
This is the fourth year in a row the event has been cancelled, with 2020 and 2021 affected by the pandemic. It did not go ahead in 2022 due to increased costs.
The free event, which consists of a huge bonfire, firework displays, fairground rides and food stalls, is funded by the Council and the Mellors Group. It was expected to require around £60,000 to stage this year, with a third covered by the Mellors Group, and a £40,000 cost to the Council.
This is a significant increase on the £30,000 event in 2019 due to a sharp rise in inflation and new regulations. The cost not only includes fireworks and event attractions, but also site management, security, medical cover and anti-terrorism measures, which are all standard requirements for an event of this scale.
The Council is already seeing significant financial pressures on its wider budgets, as it meets increasing demand for the services it provides to support vulnerable children and adults.
Many local authorities around the country are unable to stage Bonfire Night displays. Cities such as Manchester, Cardiff and Leeds cancelled events in 2022. Glasgow, Gravesend and Norwich have already cancelled firework celebrations for 2023, with many councils also facing budget pressures and rising costs.
Officers looked at a number of options to help finance an event this year, including charging for car parking and external funding, but unfortunately none would have raised the required income. However, the Council will continue looking for sponsorship opportunities to support its events programme into the future.
Councillor Pavlos Kotsonis, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, said: “It’s disappointing that the Bonfire Night event has been cancelled for the fourth year running. We did not want to have to take this decision, but with increasing financial pressures in a very difficult current economic climate, we were left with no choice.
“We understand that this will be a big disappointment to families across Nottingham who look forward each year to a firework celebration at the Forest Recreation Ground, but we have a responsibility with budgets so tight to justify every pound that’s spent.
“I know officers worked really hard to secure external funding, but unfortunately costs remained very high in a number of areas and we continue operating in a tough economic environment, making it difficult to stage the event this year.”
James Mellors of the Mellors Group said: “I’m disappointed that this year’s event has been cancelled, but I understand the Council’s decision. While the bonfire event may not be happening on 5 November, we look forward to providing Nottingham folk with seasonal entertainment soon after when we open Winter Wonderland at Old Market Square on 7 November.”