Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival cancelled for being 'too popular'

Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival cancelled for being 'too popular' Image copyright Geograph / Steve Fareham
Image caption The festival has been held in Aberaeron for20 years

A food festival has been cancelled for being "too popular".

Organisers of the annual Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival said it has caused parking problems, crowding and congestion on the Aberaeron harbour side and they were postponing it for a year.

Aberaeron town council said it caused "total chaos".

But a business owner said he was disappointed and it increases footfall to the town.

The festival has been held in Aberaeron for more than 20 years, but organisers said it "needs to take a sabbatical" and health and safety was the priority, with the challenges of staging the event "increasing considerably in recent years".

Organiser Menna Heulyn said: "When we started, it was a small festival run by volunteers and quite easy to put on but as the years have gone by, regulations are increasing, there's more and more red tape, more and more work to prepare for the festival and more emphasis on public safety, food safety, parking restrictions, ensuring there's no congestion.

Image caption Organisers say the food festival causes parking problems, crowding and congestion

"And these are challenges for us as volunteers in Aberaeron and working within a very confined area around the harbour, I think the harbour is what makes the festival unique and with that brings responsibilities.

"We felt for a very small team of volunteers maybe it's the time for us to have a little break, it happened in Glastonbury once, they took a break and came back stronger, and maybe new people will come and put their names forward."

Ms Heulyn said work on the festival begins in January, so the team - who all have other jobs and businesses - spend eight months preparing.

Image caption Organisers say the festival has put Aberaeron on the food map

"But it's been an amazing event for Aberaeron, and really helped put Aberaeron on the food map," she added.

Martin Holland, who runs the Cadwgan Inn, said the event was "fundamentally important".

He said: "It increases footfall to the town. It certainly was a shock.

"To postpone it would be not much short of catastrophic in its knock on effects. Once something does get postponed, it's difficult to get the resurrection."

Image caption Councillor Elizabeth Evans says the cancellation was a shock

Councillor Elizabeth Evans said the announcement "came as a bit of a shock because it's so successful", and paid credit to the small team of volunteers who organise the event.

"They have to provide a festival that is safe," she said.

"There are thousands of people that descend on Aberaeron."

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