An international food festival championing “the best of Birmingham” has been scrapped at the last minute – because the council forgot it is digging up the city centre.
The Birmingham Food and Drink Festival 2015 was set to attract 100 stalls and was designed to “showcase what Birmingham has to offer alongside international flavours.”
Victoria Square, Chamberlain Square and Upper New Street were due to be turned into a bustling food village with a swanky “garden party” enclosure serving Champagne, Pimms and strawberries “in a relaxed atmosphere.”
A “Something Sweet” zone was due to have a selection of “naughty but nice” desserts and an area was designated to showcase “the best of British produce.”
But the event, due to be staged from June 4-12, has been quietly axed after the scale of the rebuilding of Paradise Circus and the surrounding area became apparent.
Simply put, heavy lifting gear and pneumatic drills would have shattered the peace of the Pimms bar.
Stall-holders who applied for stands costing up to £3,250 have been sent a brief email telling them the show won’t go on.
The statement from the council’s events team says: “Unfortunately due to unexpected work on utility diversions, the Metro phase 2 works as well as proposed work on the Victoria Square fountain, we are unable to accommodate a festival for this length of time in 2015.”
Still, these things happen. It must be very easy to forget you have an army of builders beavering away on a £500 million redevelopment of Paradise Circus, particularly when the works are right next to the proposed sight of your major food event.
Back in January, the council warned of “significant disruption,” which is press office-speak for “total ruddy meltdown.” It appears the warning fell on deaf ears within the local authority.
In the short-term, the cancellation of the food event poses questions about the upcoming Colmore Business District Food Festival in July, which is held in a similar location and is a great celebration of the local restaurant and bar scene.
It also casts doubt on the ability of the city to hold the annual German Market at the same site. Like they say, every cloud has a silver lining.
Just where will the good people of Birmingham buy crap sausages, Haribo sweets and tacky decorations if the Frankfurters don’t come? Someone might care to ask. I really couldn’t care less.