CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Basingstoke Live will stage a musical protest ahead of a key meeting to determine the future of the free event.
Dozens of people are set to take part in an hour-long musical demonstration in a bid to disssuade Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Conservative-led administration from axing the popular two-day event.
And this week, Culture Secretary and Basingstoke MP Maria Miller has also backed calls to save Basingstoke Live.
Tomorrow, Wednesday December 5, members of the council’s 12-strong community wellbeing committee will discuss whether to scrap the event.
The musical protest before the meeting is in reaction to a report published earlier this month for the same committee which recommended axing the event for 2013 because of a £27,000 funding shortfall needed to pay for beefed-up security measures.
Other options include making Basingstoke Live smaller, or introducing an entrance fee to the event, which attracted up to 50,000 music fans in 2011.
Since the recommendations came to light, a petition, headed by Labour’s Brookvale and Kings Furlong ward member Councillor Jack Cousens, has been launched to save the event. As of yesterday, it had been signed by more than 700 people.
Cllr Cousens has said the musical protest will up the pressure on the borough’s decision-making Cabinet, who will ultimately decide whether to axe the event.
“I think it will send a message and show that people are behind keeping Basing-stoke Live,” said Cllr Cousens.
“Basingstoke Live is a community event and so I think the community should come out and support its future.”
Yesterday, Mrs Miller told The Gazette that she would like to see the event be saved. “It is a great local event, it has grown rapidly and the council are considering its future going forward,” she said.
“I think it’s important to find a way that we can retain the event in the future as it brings so much enjoyment to so many people.”
Cllr Elaine Still, borough Cabinet member for communities, sport and culture, said: “No decision has been made. I know the opposition say we have made our minds up – but that is certainly not true.”
The protest will take place at the Civic Offices, in London Road, from 5.30pm on December 5.