Sponsors needed to save Bognor’s Rox festival

Crowds enjoying the atmosphere at last year's Rox  ks1500321-11
Crowds enjoying the atmosphere at last year's Rox ks1500321-11

BACKERS are urgently needed to save this year’s Rox from being cancelled.

The vital sponsors are required to fill a growing funding gap to enable the free music and arts festival to continue.

The situation has been described as the most serious in the popular seafront event’s 26 year history.

A spokesman for Rox Music and Arts said a community-wide effort had to be made to ensure the entertainment event’s survival as the biggest crowd-puller in the town’s calendar. It would cost some £45,000 to stage this summer.

“Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, the support we rely on from the local authority, as well as grant sources, has been cut - leaving us with a huge amount of extra funding to find.

“We are eternally grateful for the support that we have received in the past and for the grants received so far for 2016. But now we’re asking for the whole town to get behind us and make sure that their favourite free event survives,” he said.

Rox was founded in 1990 by Bognor residents Steve Goodheart and Terry Slade to provide a professional setting for local musicians to perform in front of large crowds.

It has stayed true to its aim and regularly attracts around 30,000 visitors a year to blend of sounds and sights to benefit many traders.

Rox has been held in the grounds of the Royal Norfolk Hotel since 2008 in late July.

The 2015 festival saw the likes of Mike Fry and the FT, The Daytonas and The Feel take to the main stage.

The secret garden stage on the seafront opposite saw smaller scale sets from the likes of Zoe Kent and Aimee Mackenzie on the first day before the Sunday was washed out by a fierce storm.

The event is broadcast live to put Bognor’s creative scene firmly on the map.

But the costs of the two days continue to rise to ensure health and safety rules are met and the gigs run smoothly just as the backing from councils and other organisations falls to leave the widest-ever gap. Exact figures have not been released.

However, the spokesman said: “We’re calling on businesses large and small, and even individuals, to rally around the flag and make sure that this unique event is not lost.”

A Rox donations page is being set up on the JustGiving website.

* The popular University of Chichester partnership event Rox in the Park in April and the Rox Halloween Party at the end of October will continue.