‘Victims of our own success’

Fright Night,Sheffield City Centre.....Kirkland Family from Storadbroke
Fright Night,Sheffield City Centre.....Kirkland Family from Storadbroke

It was almost unlucky 13.

High winds and heavy rain put Fright Night in doubt for a time last year. Hallowe’en celebrations went ahead and proved as popular as ever.

But the uncertainty caused by the worst weather in the 13-year history of the event put another doubt in the minds of organisers.

“We have contingency plans, but it really highlighted that it has always been run on a shoestring budget and we have got to the point where we can’t do it properly,” said Scott Barton, of Yellow Bus Events.

“It has always been a challenge because it is open and free. To an extent it has become a victim of its own success. The scale and attendances have grown and grown.”

Fright Night cost £65,000 to stage last October, with income from stallholders and fairground operators to help offset increasing bills for barriers, stewarding, road signs, first aid and health and safety measures.

The council, which gave £15,000 last year, has reduced its contribution by 40% over the two years. Other sources of funds are drying up, although the University of Sheffield has continued to be an invaluable supporter.

“We all know the financial situation the council is in and we quite understand it has had to reduce its financial support for the event,” said Scott. “We sat down with the council and came to the conclusion there is not the appropriate level of resources to put on the event in the way we have done for the past 13 years.

“We need to take a year out and rest the event. We intend to bring it back in 2015 when there are the possibilities of more funding.”

The policing issues were still not resolved. “By taking a year out this will also give some breathing space to find a proper resolution to this.”
Scott added: “We are very proud of what has been achieved, but the time seems right to have a year away from it, with a view to coming back reinvigorated in 2015”.

A Hallowe’en/fancy dress event for younger families is being planned for this year.

‘Fright Night’s Little Brother’ staged on The Moor has become very popular and there is certainly a desire in the city for a family friendly fancy dress event for younger children. A daytime event would also help support the retail economy, says Yellow Bus.

related article: Fright night shocker as it takes a year off