Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2012

Fireworks once again under threat

Tuesday December 20th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Reflecting on a very successful 2011 for Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, Cowes Week Limited is focussing its primary efforts for the 2012 regatta on making improvements in line with the priorities for its competitors .

Commenting on plans in progress for the 2012 regatta, Stuart Quarrie, CEO of CWL said: "2011 saw a fantastic start to the regatta’s new relationship with Aberdeen Asset Management and was widely regarded as a vintage year with some lively and sometimes quite challenging racing conditions. Looking ahead to 2012 we remain focused on providing excellent, competitive sailing for those taking part in the racing whilst looking at ways in which we can reduce their participation costs in these challenging economic times."

CWL has already confirmed that for 2012 standard entry fees will remain at the same level as 2011, despite RPI rates of more than 5%. A 20% discount will also apply to entries received within the early bird entry period (between March 26th and June 4th).

As CWL focuses its attention on ensuring facilities and logistics for racing at the regatta are the best they can be, it is adapting its plans to concentrate on this core element of the regatta. As such it is now unable to provide a fireworks display in 2012.

Stuart Quarrie said: “Sincere thanks go out to all those organisations and individuals that have provided their generous support for the fireworks display in recent years. It is with great reluctance that this decision has been reached, but sadly with the mismatch between rising costs and a lack of financial support from the community, the situation has become untenable. However, if another organisation were to put on a display during the event, CWL would be delighted to contribute towards the costs on behalf of the competitors taking part in the sailing regatta.”

Fireworks Display:

There has been talk for several years of the fireworks being under threat but each year they happen. Is this just scare-mongering?
For two years, the fireworks display was fortunate to receive significant sums from an anonymous donor, and in 2011, CWL and Aberdeen Asset Management made significant contributions to save the display. However, this is not a sustainable funding model. Rising costs, coupled with an inability or unwillingness from the community to contribute (many of whom watch or benefit from the display), mean that CWL’s provision of a free fireworks display can no longer continue.

Why are things different now?
The costs of providing a safe infrastructure for the display have risen in recent years at a time when people are increasingly less inclined to contribute to the display. Without sustainable financial support of the fireworks, CWL can no longer provide the display.

Why isn’t CWL or Aberdeen Asset Management funding the display in full?
CWL’s business is running a successful sailing regatta for competitors, bringing huge numbers of people to the Island. While shore-side entertainment and facilities are an important part of the event experience for many of those taking part, CWL’s focus is and will remain on providing excellent, competitive sailing. It is not a key focus for CWL or Aberdeen Asset Management to facilitate a fireworks display and divert a significant portion of the available funding towards a display. However, if another organisation were to put on a display during the event, CWL would be delighted to contribute towards the costs on behalf of the competitors taking part in the sailing regatta.

What about support from those that campaigned to “Save Cowes Week Fireworks” when the display was first brought into question?
A Facebook campaign was launched in 2009 to “Save Cowes Week Fireworks” and the group was successful in securing pledges of support from over 3,500 Facebook fans. However, donations from this source only totalled £1,300 which came from a small proportion of those who had initially pledged their support.

How much does the fireworks display actually cost?
The total cost of putting on the fireworks display in 2011 was almost £50,000. These costs look set to increase in the short-term to a figure approaching £70,000. Around 70% of the costs associated with the display are not the fireworks display itself but the infrastructure necessary in order to ensure a safe display.

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