Can there be Live with a dying budget?
THE boss of the organisation behind some of Derby's biggest events, such as the Darley Park Concert, has vowed to "protect its programme whenever possible" against budget cuts.
Derby Live, the city council's entertainment arm, is set to have to cut its spending by 10% by the 2014-15 financial year – a total of about £90,000.
This will count towards savings of £62 million the authority says it must make in the next three years in the face of cuts to its grants from the Government.
But Peter Ireson, Derby Live's director, said some cash had already been found towards the target and that the aim was to keep the same programme.
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He said: "We want to continue with all the events that we do as they are an important part of the city's economy and making Derby a great place to live."
Asked whether charging might be introduced for Derby Live's free events, such as the annual Darley Park Concert and Markeaton Park fireworks, Mr Ireson said it was "a possibility".
He said: "We will review the free events. Charges are made by other local authorities, so it is a possibility we will look at.
"But we would also look at the possibility of voluntary donations.
"Charging for the fireworks would be more plausible than charging for Darley Park. It would be difficult to charge for that because of the nature of the setting."
Mr Ireson said prices for Derby Live's shows, such as the Christmas pantomime, were reviewed on an annual basis anyway.
He said a more "mixed economy" might be used for some events in the same way as last year's Festé, where many shows were free but some, such as tickets for performance artist Luc Amoros, were paid for.
Mr Ireson said this had proved successful as the show had sold out.
More than £20,000 towards the savings target has already been found.
This was through the introduction of Derby Live's online box office.
Mr Ireson said the technology, which allows people to select which seats they want, had allowed one employee to take voluntary redundancy.
He said another idea being looked at was whether city council staff could build the stage for the Darley Park Concert instead of outsourcing the work.
A final decision on the council's budget for the next two years, which includes the Derby Live savings, will be made at a council meeting on Wednesday.