ONLY half the expected number of revellers attended Coventry’s Godiva Festival which was also mired by a Saturday night main tent shutdown – despite enjoyment for many.
Organisers Coventry City Council says ‘more than 75,000’ people attended over the three days – around half of highest official figures in recent years, and half the total capacity this year of 150,000.
In the last decade, numbers for the historically free festival have stood at at least 120,000.
It was the first year tickets were introduced to cut a deficit and 51,000 advance tickets had been sold by Friday morning, a third of those available.
Visitors who arrived without tickets could pay by card on the gate for what was described as a £2 ticket administration fee.
The council in a press release said there were ‘more than 75,000’ and ticketing arrangements made its estimate more precise.
Further bad news for the festival came on Saturday night when the Rhythm Tent was closed due to overcrowding and health and safety fears.
Revellers were left angry as three acts were cancelled – Coventry rapper Jay1, MistaJam and Egypt.
Jay1 posted on Instagram: “GODIVA festival would not allow me perform today because apparently the ‘crowd was too excited for me’ is that a f****** joke? F*** GODIVA.
“… People travelled down from Glasgow, London, Liverpool etc and you couldn’t let the show run because my fans were too excited to see me?
“This is a city where mans actually from as well. Like I said f*** Godiva and f*** everyone who runs it.
“I’m very sorry my peoples but there’s nothing I could’ve done in this situation.
“I had 4 special guests ready to come out as well. Im extremely sorry & I’ll be back performing here on my tour. #F***GODIVA you lot owe me serious bread.”
Council deputy leader Abdul Khan said: “Of course, the decision to close the Rhythm Tent on Saturday evening was disappointing, but necessary as the safety of all people attending the festival is our number one priority, and thankfully no one was seriously hurt.”
He added: “The Godiva Festival has become one of the jewels in the Coventry crown and it was pleasing to see so many people have fun at the event again this year.
“The Godiva Festival offers something for everyone and as always, we will look to learn lessons from this year’s event to ensure the 2020 festival is the best it can be.”
Despite the problems which were emphasised even by the council in a press release, the weekend was a great success for many.
Highlights included Busted, The Selecter and Sugarhill Gang on Sunday, Friday headliners Levellers and Feeder on Saturday. Many local acts played at various stages throughout the weekend.