Organisers of the Fusion Festival yesterday (29th February) announced the dates for the 2016 event. And, to the shock and dismay of many local fans, it was also announced that this year’s event will not be hosted at Cofton Park, but will take place in Liverpool.
The family friendly pop festival, backed by Capital FM, was launched in 2013 and has been staged in Cofton Park for the last three years. The event has seen top pop artists such as Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, Dizzee Rascal, Union J, McBusted, Labrinth, JLS, The Vamps and Pitbull performing in Longbridge, with around 50,000 people attending last year’s three day event.
The announcement to move the festival to Liverpool this year, to coincide with the city being named UNESCO City of Music, was made by Capital Liverpool and Liverpool City Council yesterday morning (29th February). The festival’s Facebook page was altered to proclaim it was: “The North West’s Ultimate Pop Festival”.
Video: Jessie J got Cofton jumping in 2013 (continues after video)
The festival in Longbridge has not been without its critics, with some local residents being unhappy with the noise, traffic and temporary closure of parts of the park. However, it proved popular with many local residents who have expressed their frustration that the festival has moved.
“Have been for the last 3 years ! Can’t believe that it’s being taken away from Birmingham, was a great event” – Jane Gregory, Facebook
“I’ll miss the music but not the car parking chaos and the mess left behind!!” – Natalie Murphy on Facebook
“…the kids always got excited about and loved it” – @Smithers263 on Twitter
“Boo! We’ve supported Fusion every year to make it what it is. If it wasn’t for us local Brummies who’ve supported it it wouldn’t be what it is today.” – Julie Caulfield on Facebook
“Good!! Cofton park is only just recovering from last years, it looked like a scene from the Somme after last Fusion.” – Mark Hynes on Facebook
“The fusion event is a family affair. Lots of people all ages attend and it’s a great festival atmosphere. The site is always cleaned as soon as it’s finished and left in a good state.” – Carole Griffiths (Labour) Council election candidate 2016, Longbridge Ward.
“I am personally disappointed with organisers of the Fusion music festival with their decision to move the festival to Liverpool for 2016. The festival drew huge crowds and stimulated the local economy in Longbridge without the huge disruption many local residents feared, due to excellent partnership working by organisers and the Council. I really hope this is not a petulant reaction by the organisers to being rightfully charged by Birmingham City Council for the damage done to Cofton Park last year and the organisers of The Fusion Festival are true to their word, returning to Cofton Park and Birmingham in the near future.” – Cllr Ian Cruise (Independent), Longbridge Ward.
“As a local resident I was sad when I found out that Fusion have changed and moved to Liverpool. The festival was a great family and community atmosphere. […] this also has a negative impact on local businesses and the new town centre. Fusion brought in crowds of people that positively impacted financially to the local economy. They also supported many local groups and of course financially donated to the Princess Trust. […] The parks manager confirmed they always rectified the damage with in the time frame set by the Council. Cofton Park is known to be a great venue through out Birmingham to hold events and I do hope we carry on promoting our side of Birmingham for future activities.” – Cllr Andy Cartwright (Labour), Longbridge Ward
One local resident has started an online petition, ‘We want Fusion back in Birmingham’, stating that many families have planned time off and holidays around the August Bank Holiday for Fusion Festival and that “loads of children will be upset this year”.
Festival to return?!
Mike Owen, representing Fusion, suggested that the move this year may only be a temporary one:
“As Liverpool is UNESCO City of Music there was an obvious synergy for 2016 but Fusion is looking forward to returning to Birmingham in the future.” – Mike Owen, Fusion Festival spokesman
Will you miss Fusion Festival and would you like to see it return?