Sheffield fundraising concert organisers’ plea for venue

Sheffield's largest free arts and music festival, Peace in the Park, returned to the Ponderosa Park in Netherthorpe this weekend for its 10th anniversary. Our picture shows some of of those who attended the event.
Sheffield's largest free arts and music festival, Peace in the Park, returned to the Ponderosa Park in Netherthorpe this weekend for its 10th anniversary. Our picture shows some of of those who attended the event.
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A fundraising concert in aid of a Sheffield festival has had to be postponed because of a lack of suitable venues in the city, organisers have said.

Peace in the Park was staged annually for a decade, but is not set to return to the Ponderosa in Netherthorpe until next year because of a lack of funds.

An event called Peace in the Park by Night had been planned at the Abbeydale Picture House on June 20 to raise money for the 2016 festival.

However, the event has now been called off because of difficulties obtaining the necessary licence for the former cinema, which included concerns over health and safety.

In an update to supporters, the festival committee said: “It became clear we were not going to be able to get this licence until substantial work has been done to the building to make it safe for a live music event.

“Over the last few years Sheffield has lost many of its community spaces where we could have run this event, such as the Everyone Centre and the Blind Institute.

“This means that at the moment we are struggling to find an alternative venue that can offer us similar facilities to the Abbeydale Picture House, and so we are going to have to postpone Peace in the Park by Night until further notice.”

Organiser Gareth Roberts told the Sheffield Telegraph: “There are plenty of halls around, but they are of a smaller capacity and are increasingly being used on a semi-commercial basis as well.

“We need a venue that has a capacity of at least 400 plus, and that would allow us to take both the proceeds from ticket sales and bar sales.

“That combination is quite an ask even from the most generous of venue owners.”

He added: “If there is somebody out there that wanted to support Peace in the Park then they may well find an interesting use for their property.”

But Gareth said he remained certain the free festival - which attracted up to 10,000 people to the Ponderosa in 2014 - will happen next year.

“We’ve got a plan that does not rely on this one event. We made the right decision not to hold the festival this year.

“If we did, we would be having to think seriously about its viability.”

Another fundraiser called Little Peaces - promising highlights from the main event in miniature form - is taking place at the Sharrow Festival on June 13.