Additional reporting by Emma Draper

A last-ditch attempt to save a fire festival celebrating Celtic and Viking culture in Peel has failed despite a sponsor for the event being secured.

The popular Oie Voaldyn event usually takes place on Peel Beach in May and attracts around 6,000 people.

The festival, which started in 2018, aims to bring people together to celebrate the arrival of summer with music, ceremony and fire.

Large crowds gather on Peel Promenade in early May each year to see bonfires, fireworks and torch light parades. But organisers of the event issued a statement back in February announcing that the 2024 event had been scrapped due to a lack of funding.

The statement said that organisers had ‘not raised sufficient funds to cover all the overheads and infrastructure costs’ but were hopeful of putting on the festival in 2024 if ‘generous sponsors come forward’.

In the intervening weeks, event planners managed to strike a deal with both the Fynoderee distillery and Bushy’s brewery to save the 2024 Oie Voaldyn festival by teaming up to sponsor the event. However, those plans have now been scrapped after Peel Town Commissioners objected to the arrangement due to fears over the impact it would have on smaller local businesses.

The organiser of the festival, John Shakespeare, said the ‘lack of support’ from the local authority has now stopped the event from going ahead.

He said: ‘It's a bit sad, really.

‘The commissioners were supportive of the festival, as they've always been, and they offered me £6,000 to put it on.

‘The festival has seen significant increases in cost, particularly with health and safety licenses.

‘We worked with a sponsor who offered a substantial amount to secure the full amount of funding that we needed for this year's festival, but when I told the commissioners who it was, they said that it's very likely that they would decline to support the license application.

‘There's a few commissioners that didn’t want to see a Fynoderee mobile catering bar on site for the duration of the festival. I really thought people understood that when we bring 6,000 people in, everybody benefits as all the eateries and pubs are full.

‘I really didn't think that there would be any issue this year to get the festival back on track.’

A spokesperson from Peel Town Commissioners said the board has always been supportive of the Oie Voaldyn festival and had increased the amount of funding it was offering to stage the event to £6,000 this year.

But the spokesperson claimed the town’s small businesses ‘wouldn’t get the same amount of footfall’ from visitors as the main sponsors would.

The authority had concerns using ratepayers’ money, which includes business rates, to fund an event supported by two island businesses outside of Peel.

The news comes as another blow to the town’s festival scene.