Important Queenie festival needs more than one organiser, says MWT

Touch tanks at last year's Queenie Festival

Touch tanks at last year's Queenie Festival

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Manx Wildlife Trust had concerns over the organisation and profile of this year’s Queenie festival – called Festival of the Sea – so was not surprised it was cancelled.

MWT was involved in previous festivals running touch tanks and as a beneficiary.

The news of the cancellation prompted many comments from disappointed people.

Graham Hall, who with Island Seafare’s Tim Croft dreamt up the idea for the festival first held in 2009, said its importance is so great it should be revived.

After Mr Hall and Mr Croft stepped back from its organisation in 2013, Rushen MHKs Phil Gawne, Laurence Skelly and Juan Watterson took over; James Gale from Switched On Events joined the team in 2014 and became the organiser.

Mr Gale told Isle of Man Newspapers this year’s festival, scheduled for July 2 and 3, was cancelled because of ‘funding issues’.

The report about the cancellation led to comments being made online. One was from Mr Gale who said: ‘The reason for cancelling the event was not exactly “funding issues” as there was funding in place to run the event. The issue was a demand for a fee of £4,000 to go on paying for the touch tanks to be provided by the Manx Wildlife Trust. We tried to negotiate a lower fee but they stood firm with their demands.’

MWT did not want to reply directly to Mr Gale’s comment, but they issued a statement and said: ‘We have watched as the event simply did not start to shape up and get planned with the significance it deserved.

‘Our part in the festivals over the many previous years is a major undertaking for us as an organisation and requires considerable commitment and support from our volunteers and staff.

‘Historical concerns before this year because of date changes in 2015 due to double bookings by organisers meant that the Wildlife Trust had questions about how far elements of the festival had been organised and support secured.

‘This has been our most significant event for many years and as such we expect the organisation of it to be of an excellent standard.’

MWT’s Tim Graham said: ‘The festival should celebrate the significance internationally of our marine environment. The importance of all the links that Manx culture and conservation holds with our seas means that we need an event delivered in keeping with this significance.’

The event is too big for one organiser, said Mr Graham, who added MWT is happy to work with others on reviving the festival next year.

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