Cash contrasts as battle of the fests heats up

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The creator of Tring’s new two-day music festival Chilfest denies it will threaten the future of BerkoFest.

Steve Butcher spoke out after reading in last week’s Gazette that BerkoFest organisers are struggling to find the £80,000 they need to fund the event this year.

He said: “They have done a year and they have done really well. What I am doing is something brand new and I do not think you can compare the two events.”

One-day music and comedy festival BerkoFest was held at Berkhamsted Sports Ground for the first time last year and included big-name, expensive acts like Showaddywaddy and Seth Lakeman. This year it is scheduled for Saturday, September 13.

Tring’s Chilfest will be in Pendley Meadow from Friday, July 5. Confirmed acts include X Factor winners Little Mix, Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet, Heather Small from M People and Midge Ure from Ultravox.

The main BerkoFest acts have yet to be announced, but Parka Club will open it winning Saturday’s Battle of the Bands (see page 16).

Mr Butcher, who runs Pitstone-based events firm Universal Event Production, said: “It looks like BerkoFest is just bleating.

“My budget is £210,000 for Chilfest, to put it into context, and we are not looking for any kind of sponsorship.”

The event has sold about 6,000 tickets and has 8,000 left. Its Saturday tickets are expected to sell out within weeks. Chifest had a £115,000 budget for performers.

Mr Butcher said: “It has got to be the biggest thing that Tring has ever seen and it has got to be a commercial success, as we are trying to raise £32,000 for Iain Rennie.”

Tring’s Rennie Grove Hospice Care, previously Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, looks after the terminally ill.