BUSINESS leaders and opposition have had their say on the council’s proposal for the air festival from 2024 onwards. 

As reported, 2024’s Bournemouth Air Festival won't go ahead unless £100k is raised externally on top of the £200k BCP Council will commit. 

In 2025 and beyond, the council will no longer fund the air festival – instead handing it over to external organisations who will show interest. 

Reacting to the proposals, high-profile figures in the conurbation have had mixed thoughts. 

Paul Kinvig, chief operating officer for Bournemouth Town Centre BID, said the proposals will now give businesses and residents scope to make something to benefit themselves. 

Bournemouth Echo: Bournemouth Town Centre BID chief Paul KinvigBournemouth Town Centre BID chief Paul Kinvig

He said: “I think major events for Bournemouth good because they put the town on the map, but also they have to be beneficial for the residents and town centre businesses. 

Read more: Bournemouth Air Festival will return in 2024 if money is raised

“What this does is give a wide group of people the opportunity to shape something themselves, and give people the opportunity to think how we can make it more beneficial for them.”

Fiona McArthur, Bournemouth Coastal BID manager, said it's "vital" Bournemouth remains the "premier tourist destination" irrespective of BCP's finances.

"We are all aware of BCP Council’s financial position and it is important to remember the context in which this decision has been taken," she said.

"However it is also important to remember the benefits that the air festival bring to the town in terms of increased revenue for businesses, and overnight stays in our hotels.

"We welcome the decision to host the air festival in 2024 and we will work alongside BCP Council in ensuring that this can happen."

Cllr Phil Broadhead, opposition leader, said: “Earlier this year, the new Liberal Democrat-led Council announced their intention to scrap the much loved air festival, following similar moves when they were running the council in 2019. 

“Following our extensive campaigning around this, they scrapped that decision which was due for July, pushing the final decision to October which again was missed.

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Phil BroadheadCllr Phil Broadhead (Image: BCP Council)

“Although late, the decision to commit to the festival for another year is welcomed.  

“This u-turn is no doubt linked to the recent admission that the much talked about £44m gap in the council’s finances for next year doesn’t actually exist; the transformation savings which we’d planning in have been confirmed to be largely accurate.

Read more: Red Arrows will NOT return to Bournemouth Air Festival

“The voice of the residents and the tourism and hospitality industry have been united in this: it’s an incredible event, one of the largest free festivals in the country, which brings in millions of pounds to the local economy.  

“We’ll continue to campaign for support for the festival into the future.” 

Bournemouth Echo: Green's Simon Bull (right)Green's Simon Bull (right) (Image: Richard Crease)

Green councillor Simon Bull, ward member for Winton East, said he is “glad” the council is reviewing the festival’s future but imagines £100k will be raised in time for 2024’s event. 

He said: “I’ve not been a great fan of carrying on the air festival in the same way every year as it doesn’t seem to send a great message on the environment and sustainability.” 

Regarding the proposed Festival of Air, which would replace the current format with kites and hot air balloons, Cllr Bull said it is “possibly” a step in the right direction. 

“But if we are attracting the same amount of people in the same way in their cars, what do we achieve? 

“Fundamentally, we need to change attitudes towards fossil fuels and car usage,” he added.