Posted 05 August 2012 - 03:26 PM
Hi Rhythm Fest fans, I have been prompted to write in support of Jim in the wake of the generally hostile earlier posts. I share everyone's disappointment and frustration that the festival has been cancelled, I have been a fan since day 1and attended every Rhythm Festival, enjoying the friendly, family atmosphere not to mention the great music. When it had to move to Shuttleworth I was was very happy as it is within walking distance for me, I contacted Jim following last years concert and offered my support to promote the event locally and try and overcome any opposition - there has been quite a lot from local people objecting to noise and traffic, in fact this year Central Beds Council was going to be monitoring noise levels. Having just experienced the plug being pulled on Springsteen in Hyde park I was not keen to have a similar experience in Bedfordshire.
Having witnessed Jim in action since last year I am convinced that his life revolves around the festival and he can't be doing it for the money. Ever since the end of RF in 2011 he has been dealing with the criticism about real ale and toilets to ensure a better experience in 2012, the biggest problem, the weather is beyond his control. God knows how much time he has spent booking the bands and dealing with suppliers, local authorities, venue and publicity. His whole life seems to be focused on making it a success and I have watched him tirelessly travelling around pubs, clubs and relevant leisure centers within a 50 mile radius of Biggleswade distributing posters, flyers and drumming up support; as well as fly posting and putting up signs on road junctions. The bottom line is that for the reasons he has articulated all this activity was not translating into ticket sales, his only real source of revenue. My own experience locally was that there was tremendous good will but "we will book nearer the day when we can see what the weather is like" is not a strong business case. Having been involved with organising a couple of Blues festivals in the adjacent village it is the ultimate nightmare - fixed costs to pay but but slow bookings that are not enough to cover them. This coupled with the unprecedented call for money up front from bands and suppliers must have made Jim's position completely untenable.
I do hope that it will be possible to resurrect RF for 2013, but it wont be easy, and I do agree that there must be a lot of untapped expertise and support out there from the loyal RF fans. Maybe a bigger push using social media and word of mouth to promote Rhythm Fest, but this must result in much higher advance ticket sales - that is the challenge, come on everyone lets rise to it!!.