Mathew Street Festival axed

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Mathew Street Festival © Trinity Mirror

Mathew Street Festival © Trinity Mirror

The council has announced that the Mathew Street Festival has been scrapped this year and will be replaced by a smaller Liverpool International Music Festival in August.

A downgraded event will be held in Sefton Park as the 20-year-long festival that centres around the world-famous Mathew Street becomes the latest victim of Liverpool City Council’s spending cuts.

The new, smaller International Festival will cost £320,000 a year less to run, compared to the £800,000 spent on the Mathew Street Festival, which attracts more than 300,000 people every year.

The news that the iconic three-day festival held every year over the August bank holiday weekend is being swapped with a new event has divided opinion, as JMU Journalism took to the city centre to gauge people’s reactions.

Although some are saddened by the news, others think that it is a good idea as fears grow about the festival gaining a bad reputation.

Paul Taylor, 23, of Huyton said: “It’s sad because it’s always been on. It’ll definitely affect all of the pubs, not just on Mathew Street but all around town. I think the new festival will still be good for the city. I think it’s even better for the city actually.”

Local taxi driver, Mark Doyle, of Aigburth said: “I think it’ll be a really bad burden on our livelihood as a taxi trade and the 3 day festival really helps the taxi trade out. It’ll have a bad effect on hotels, retailers and everybody else around the area. I don’t think cutting the festival altogether is the right thing to do.”

Hotels surrounding the popular street are also concerned the axing will mean a drop in business. Duty Manager Rebecca Elliott at the Premier Inn in Vernon Street believes saying goodbye to the festival will also mean the same for customers.

Mathew Street Festival © Trinity Mirror

Mathew Street Festival © Trinity Mirror

She added: “Loads of people come from all over the country for the festival to see the Beatles tribute bands and other live music. We’re normally overbooked at the time of the year, and people make bookings for the next year two weeks after the event. I don’t think we will be as busy this year though because of this.”

Mairead Kelly, 62, of Childwall said: “I don’t think they should have axed it, it brought an awful lot of people into the city. I think Mathew Street pubs will still be able to do their own thing and people will still go there.”

Jill Holmes, 40, of Huyton said: “I think it’s a good idea because I reckon it’ll be policed better because of its international status so there won’t be young girls and boys getting drunk on the streets.”

Additional reporting by Emma Callum & Sinead Cunningham

About Elisha Storrow, JMU Journalism