The success of Monmouth’s free Henry the Fifth festival weekend last month could see it becoming an annual event, after the town council agreed on Monday that the working group should come up with some firm proposals.
Cllr Martin Sweeney, who thought up the festival to mark 600 years since the death of Monmouth’s most famous son, reported it had been “pretty successful” thanks to some “extremely enthusiastic and fantastic” volunteers.
“We think we had 1,500-2,000 people on Vauxhall on day one of the event,” he said. “We think we had a couple of hundred through Monnow Bridge on each of the days, with the Open Doors event there.
“Several guided tours taking place at Monmouth Castle had anywhere from 75 to 200 people at them which has led to Cadw now starting to talk to the Castle Museum about having potentially more regular tour events there as well as improving the signage.
“At the Shire Hall we think we made 150 shields on the day, so we had quite a few people. Visitor numbers here, when we had activity on the Sunday, went from what they said was an average of 200 people to something like 600 or 700. So it was, I think, pretty successful.”
The event had a budget (largely from the National Lottery Heritage Fund) of £11,000, of which £1,000 was for contingencies and £2,000 was set aside for legacy, such as improving the interpretation panels at Monmouth Castle and potentially building links to local schools and the Castle Museum. Only £47 of the contingency cash was called on.
Cllr Sweeney told the council they had held an initial “wash-up” meeting with members of the working group.
“And the discussion we had was that there was enthusiasm to make this a repeated event. And that we would like the support of council to continue as a working group to bring on board some of the extremely enthusiastic and fantastic volunteers from the community involved in the event,” he said.
“We’d like to have an initial meeting to look at what might this event look like in a year’s time, work-ups and budgets, figure out where that money is going to come from, but the idea being that it might be asking for some money from council or for some other grant funding for advertising.”
They would also be looking at selling programmes and charging for parking, to ultimately make the event self-funding.
“That’s the kind of area we’re seeking approval to continue exploring,” said Cllr Sweeney.
People and Places committee chair Cllr Jackie Atkin, seconding his proposal, said: “Thank you, on behalf of the council, for the hard work that Cllr Sweeney and others have put in and, let’s work towards another successful event next year.”
The committee unanimously agreed.