The organiser of an annual festival has criticised the new owners of the Pavilion in the Park for charging him to leave event programmes on their premises.
For 15 years, James Pharaoh has organised the Bedfringe event, attracting international comedians, performers and musicians to Bedford.
One of the many ways James promotes the festival is by distributing copies of the printed programme to venues around the Borough.
When he visited the Pavilion cafe in Bedford Park this week he was told that they had introduced charges to leave flyers and programmes on their premises.
In a document the Pavilion shared with the Bedford Independent, costs to leave promotional leaflets are £1 per day. To advertise your business on a banner around the periphery of the cafe is from £2.50 per day.
All revenue generated will be donated to their chosen charity.
In a statement, the owners of the Pavilion said: “Having taken a custodial role in Bedford Park, this was an opportunity to increase the visibility of local businesses, whilst also generating some much-needed funds for charities and in doing so, supporting those who are less fortunate.”
However, for many community organisations, these costs will prevent them from promoting their events to the Pavilion’s customers.
“First off, why would you give your business this level of admin? Purchase orders/invoices for such a small return? It’s nonsense,” James told the Bedford Independent.
“More importantly, our cafes, pubs and restaurants are hives of community activity and interaction. They’re a place to catch up and chew over the day… and perhaps pick up some print to discover what is going on in your local area.
“It doesn’t cost anything [to the venue] to have some flyers on a window ledge or some festival brochures at the end of a bar. This is a celebration of community and shouldn’t be an opportunity for a commercial enterprise.”
James says he has delivered thousands of Bedfringe brochures to locations around the county and was shocked to discover that the only place charging was the Pavilion.
“At the beginning of June, we will be informing our 6,000+ email subscribers where these brochures were dropped. Sadly, for the first time, The Pavilion won’t be included.”