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Duke Street Park was gifted to the people of Formby as a free place to enjoy in 1935 so how can Formby Festival charge such excessive prices?

Dear Formby Bubble,

I am writing to express my deep concern and disappointment regarding the upcoming Formby Food and Drink Festival at Duke Street Park.

As the festival celebrates its tenth year, I believe it should be boycotted by Formby residents due to its exorbitant entry fees.

Unlike the Southport Food and Drink Festival, which offers free entry and allows attendees to pay for what they choose inside, the Formby Food and Drink Festival charges an entry fee while also requiring additional payments for everything inside. The cost of entry is a staggering £15 for an adult and £8 for a child, on top of charges ranging from £3 to £5 per child for each ride once inside. This pricing structure is simply unaffordable for many families and unjustly restricts access to an event that should be a community celebration.

Additionally, it has come to my attention that stallholders are charged thousands of pounds to have their stalls at the festival. This significant financial burden on vendors further underscores the unreasonable nature of the entry fee. Given the revenue generated from stallholder fees, it is perplexing and unfair that attendees are also charged for entry.

Duke Street Park, the festival’s venue, was gifted to the people of Formby in 1935 by Dr. A.B. Sykes, specifically to be a free place for residents to enjoy. It was intended to be a public space for all, accessible without charge. This heritage is being disregarded by imposing such high entry fees.

 Dr. A.B. Sykes who gifted Duke Street Park to the people of Formby specifically to be a free place for residents to enjoy in perpetuity

Historically, Formby has hosted the Formby Flower Show, which was once the largest one-day show in the country and always offered free entry. Dr. Sykes, a revered figure in our community, secured Duke Street Park for us with the intention that it remains a space for communal enjoyment and not for profit-driven events.

Dr. Sykes, one of Formby’s senior GPs in the 1930s, ensured the land opposite his home at Ashurst was preserved as a park to prevent it from being developed into housing. His generous gift was meant to provide a recreational space for all Formby residents in perpetuity.

Over the years, Duke Street Park has hosted various events, including the Formby Show, circuses, and daily activities like dog walking, bowls, and tennis, all free of charge.

Charging such high entry fees and additional costs for rides at the Formby Food and Drink Festival contradicts the spirit of Dr. Sykes' gift and the purpose of Duke Street Park. It is unfair to families who cannot afford these costs and to children who miss out on the fun because of financial constraints.

Typically, if there is an entry fee, activities inside are free, but this festival seems to prioritise profit over community enjoyment.

I urge Formby residents to consider boycotting this year's festival to send a clear message that such practices are unacceptable. Our community deserves events that are inclusive and respect the intentions behind our treasured public spaces.


Formby Resident


1 comentário

Chris Rigby
Chris Rigby
26 de jun.

Dear Formby Bubble

I am writing to express my deep offence at comments regarding Formby Festival 2024 ("Formby Resident", June 2024). Formby Festival is an attempt to provide an event to bring the community together, not divide it. As such, it is worthy of support rather than negative comments.

The many historically-based concerns about the use of Duke Street Park should be directed to Sefton Council who regulate and maintain it on behalf of the people of Formby, not to the unpaid volunteers who run the festival. 

Such an event comes at a financial cost. The council does charge simply for the use of the park. There are other costs such as for traffic management, waste disposal, litter picking, toilets,…

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