A SUMMER festival organised by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council cost more money to put on last year, but fewer people attended, according to figures.

A Freedom of Information request submitted to the borough council revealed a breakdown of the costs and income associated with B Love festival (previously called Basingstoke Live) from 2010 to 2019.

The festival, held in War Memorial Park in July, sees various bands and acts perform on numerous stages across two days, marking the end of Basingstoke Festival.

Last year, the council introduced a charge for the first time.

Figures show that in 2018/19 the festival cost a total of £170,264.84 to put on, compared to £116,090.86 the previous year.

The lowest cost of organising the festival was in 2013/14 when the council spent £92,906.51.

The figures for 2019/20 are based on forecast because the council is receiving payments, and show that B Love cost £85,587 to put on.

Yet despite the festival costing more money to put on last year when a ticket charge was first introduced, since people had to pay to enter, fewer have attended.

Last year, 4,906 tickets were sold in total, increasing to 5,875 for 2019.

The council estimates that in 2017, between 15,000 and 20,000 people entered the event over the weekend, while in 2016, 21,500 people attended. Numbers peaked in 2011 when the council estimates 40,000 people attended the festival.

As previously reported, the council introduced a charge to help it grow, however, a council report on the event stated there was expected to be a 50 per cent reduction in attendance with the introduction of a fee.

The figures show attendance actually fell by approximately 70 per cent when a charge was introduced.

Day tickets cost £10 for adults and weekend tickets cost £15.

Cabinet member for communities, culture and partnerships at the borough council,  Cllr Simon Bound said: “B LOVE is a different event with a different format to Basingstoke Live. The council in partnership with the B LOVE Music Forum has shifted the offer to focus on a family event full of activities and entertainment and by charging we have been able to bring well-known names to Basingstoke as our event headliners to perform alongside local artists.

“In previous years, attendance figures were estimated and included all re-entries to the festival, so one individual could have been counted multiple times. Ticket sales have enabled us to accurately record the numbers of those attending and these increased from 2018 to 2019.

“The council is already working in partnership with the forum to bring Basingstoke an even stronger B LOVE 2020”.