Party’s over as axe falls on festival music event

AN EVENT that has attracted thousands of party-goers to Buccleuch Park as part of the town’s Summer Festival is to be axed by the organisers.

The chairman of the festival committee has confirmed that there will be “no direct replacement” for Party On The Pitch, which plays host to local and big-name bands and draws hundreds of people to the cricket pitch towards the end of summer each year.

Gerry Monaghan and a new-look committee made the decision at a meeting last week, concluding that the process of applying for a licence to serve alcohol was overly “demanding” and that the event was “not financially viable”.

“I think Party On The Pitch had run its course,” said Mr Monaghan, who took over as committee chairman from Raymond Wood following last year’s festival.

“We’re not having it this year because, as a volunteer organisation, we thought that, with changes in legislation, the whole process was quite demanding last year. We have made an application for an outside bar in the past, and concerns were expressed by the licensing authority about youth access. Coupled with that fact, it wasn’t financially viable.

“We’ve run at a loss the last couple of years because the weather’s not been conducive to getting people out.”

Party On The Pitch was attended by 800 people in 2012 and around 2,000 people the year before.

Chairman Mr Monaghan says the festival committee will not directly fill the gap created by the absence of its flagship entertainment event.

Mr Monaghan said: “There will be no straight replacement for the event. There will be a music event on the second weekend, but the content is not finalised.”

Local councillor Davie Paterson, who sits on the licensing board, declined to comment on the issue of licensing in relation to Party On The Pitch but expressed his regret that the event would discontinue. He said: “I’m extremely saddened to read that the organising committee of the Summer Festival is pulling the plug on this very successful event for the town. It has proved very popular with Hawick people and visitors alike, but can’t continue to run at a loss.”

The festival committee is currently looking to fill three posts and will next meet at 7pm on February 19 at the Catholic church hall.