Move Liberation Day stallholders back to the seafront

WE HAVE an extra special Liberation Day this year. Sadly, our celebrations have been allowed to be organised by a Jersey company now.

They completely ruined the atmosphere last year by moving all of the trading stalls from the seafront to the Castle Emplacement. When they were all along the seafront, everyone was there making it a really special atmosphere.

There was never any problem with the vehicle parade slowly moving along through the crowds.

The stallholders did not want to go there and, as a business opportunity, it was a complete waste of time.

It was suggested that they were moved there to encourage people to venture there and go on to visit the castle.

It is time to go back to doing it the Guernsey way, not the Jersey way.

P. S. I have just been told that these stallholders are now to be charged £100 this year for the privilege.

Last year it was £50.

Why the increase? They have been forced away from the seafront, where they had a chance to recoup their charge, although many sell next to nothing. They were always a part of the Liberation Day experience, no longer so.

Should there be a gale blowing, or rain, no one will go to the Castle Emplacement anyway. It is time to come to our senses. Some hopes.

BOB STACEY

Victoria Homes.

Editor’s footnote: Nikki Symons, head of marketing and events for Sport & Culture, replies:

The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture appointed EC Events in 2019 as a pan-island company with representatives in both Jersey and Guernsey to be the event management company for Liberation Day on their behalf.

The footprint for Liberation Day has always been a challenge as it needs to accommodate a vast range of activities and events that take place throughout the day.

Stallholders have never been along the seafront as per a traditional Seafront Sunday, as this area is kept clear for the military parade in the morning and the cavalcade in the afternoon.

There are strict security and health and safety procedures in place for the day, the cavalcade is a controlled event and motor vehicles of any description are forbidden from moving through crowds, however slowly, throughout the

day.

The new footprint of Liberation Day 2019 was at the request of the Liberation Day Committee who, following feedback from a public survey, wanted to create zoned areas of entertainment and events across a bigger area. 2019 saw the introduction of a zoned children’s area on Crown Pier, an entertainment and food area with seating on Albert Pier and the Waitrose Naafi tent at the bus terminus was a natural stop-off point and link to the Castle Emplacement.

The stalls at the top end of the emplacement were clearly visible from Town and led on to further activities and music at the castle. This joined-up approach gave people more room to spread out and enjoy the different areas. Attendance in that area was vastly increased, with visitors to the castle rising from 1,500 (2018) to 5,000 (2019), so we know many people visited the Castle Emplacement area. Other stallholders in the same area reported selling out of goods by midday and we received numerous positive comments from islanders who welcomed the changes to the layout.

We have always included and tried to support stallholders in the day’s celebrations, with the pitch fee at a minimum to support rising admin costs and pier hire charges that we incur. We wish to continue to support local businesses, as we appreciate with such a massive footfall in Town it is the biggest public event in Guernsey’s calendar and they would wish to be there to help sustain and promote their business.

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