Sponsor needed to keep 150-year-old tradition going

Cowes fireworks threat

The 150 year-old spectacular Cowes Week fireworks display could be facing the axe this summer unless Island businesses and the public help foot the cost.

Cowes Week Ltd is the body responsible for organising the prestigious sailing event, but they have said that they won’t be stumping up the estimated 50,000 GBP to pay for the traditional regatta finale this August.

Last year the the fireworks were enjoyed by around 75,000 people, and now organisers have questioned why the 1,000 plus regatta entrants should alone stump up the money to pay for the display.

Instead, Cowes Week bosses are asking local businesses and individuals to help keep the fireworks display alive, and are also looking for sponsorship deals so the fireworks can go ahead.

The decision follows the end, last year, of Skandia’s 14 year association with the world famous Cowes Week regatta and organisers’ continuing search for new sponsors for the event. Skandia’s decision to pull out has meant organisers have had to take a fresh look at how tightened budgets are allocated during Cowes Week.

However, Stuart Quarrie, CEO of Cowes Week Ltd, said the decision was not due to the credit crunch but was a matter of fairness. “It is not about whether we could afford it without Skandia, it is not a credit crunch-driven issue. It is about fairness. Why should 1,000 entries pay for something that 75,000 people are going to enjoy? They should contribute their fair share.”

“Cowes Week Ltd has come to the conclusion that the past way of funding the fireworks is unfair. So we decided, regardless of whether we get a new partner or not, which we hope to do, we, the regatta, don’t think we should pay the whole amount. It would be fair for Cowes Week Ltd, and local businesses, and the public to contribute.”