Southend Festival to proceed for 2003
Essex County Cricket Club has today announced that its second cricket festival will be staged at Southend next year. The Club had previously confirmed its other festival week at Colchester, but was awaiting proposals from both Redbridge and Southend Councils before confirming the second venue.
Essex Chief Executive David East commented: "All our festivals have been experiencing financial difficulty over the last few years and our Committee decided some time ago that the Club could not continue to sustain three festivals in 2003. Colchester had been confirmed at an early stage due to a commitment from the Council to support the event financially next year, and Southend has also made a substantial commitment for 2003 and is prepared, in principle, to consider undertaking the staging of the event from 2004.
"It is obviously a great pity that we shall not be returning to Valentine's Park in Ilford next year and Essex should like to thank both Ilford Cricket Club and Redbridge Council for all their support over the many years of our association. The decision to drop Ilford has been made on purely financial grounds, and in no way reflects on the commitment either Ilford Cricket Club or Redbridge Council has made to Essex in the past."
On receiving the confirmation Councillor Tony North, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Sport at Southend Council said: "Everyone at the Council is delighted with the decision Essex County Cricket Club has taken. We made it clear we are fully committed to the festival remaining an important part of our summer offer in the Borough, and we look forward to working with the Club in securing the future of festival cricket."
The Southend Festival will start on Wednesday 23rd July when Essex play Leicestershire in a 4-day match in the Division 1 of the Frizzell County Championship. This is followed by a Division 1 National League match against the same opposition on Sunday 27th July.