THE GREAT Dorset Steam Fair will not take place in 2024, it has been announced.

It will be the second year the event held near Blandford has not gone ahead with organisers citing “eye watering” running costs which had risen by around £700k from £3.5million in 2019 to £4.2million in 2022.

In a statement posted on social media, a Great Dorset Steam Fair (GDSF) spokesperson, said: “This was a sledgehammer blow to the Great Dorset Steam Fair resulting in the cancellation of the 2023 event.

“Regrettably, for 2024 the soaring costs of 2022 have been compounded by a further overall increase of around 12 per cent and with additional regulatory and compliance requirements, this could well increase to around 15 per cent or more, meaning operating costs for 2024 would rise to between £4.7million and £4.9million, another staggering increase, closely mirroring the previous huge increase from 2019 to 2022.”

The spokesperson said in order to bridge the financial gap, turnover in 2024 would need to “increase significantly” and camping and ticket prices would have to rise between 70 and 75 per cent.

They added: “Whilst this would be in line with what some other major festivals charge, the Great Dorset Steam Fair directors are very conscious that, in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis, the overwhelming likelihood is that the majority of our visitors would find this to be unacceptable or unaffordable.”

Great Dorset Steam Fair managing director, Martin Oliver, said: “The GDSF is a world-renowned event and is enormously popular but, sadly, the harsh reality is that there is little we can do financially to make running the 2024 event financially viable.

“Post pandemic, operating costs increased disproportionately (when compared to our income) and would increase substantially again in 2024.”

Mr Oliver said the organisation had looked at “every option possible” to find a way forward including putting the event up for sale.

He said while there has been interest in the sale of the event and discussions are ongoing, a deal is yet to finalised that would enable the 2024 event to run.

He added: “This is not the news that everyone who enjoys the GDSF was hoping for and no one is more disappointed with this outcome than us as organisers.

"It is a desperately sad situation that we are unable to continue but, unfortunately (despite our best endeavours), the current position is that the 2024 show will not be running.

“Nevertheless, the event remains for sale and we remain hopeful that there may be a Great Dorset Steam Fair in 2025 and the present management team will do all we can to assist in making this happen.”