Why was the Haworth 1940s Weekend 2024 cancelled?
In offering my professional event management services to ensure a smaller 1940s Weekend continued in Haworth, I seem to have been embroiled or even blamed in it’s cancellation, not directly, but mentioned by name in the comments which were removed then opened up again.
This doesn’t seem fair or make any sense, especially as I am nothing to do with the weekend in Haworth and I certainly wasn’t going to pay £9k towards somebody else’s business expenses. Most people believe that this event is managed by a public committee or charity of locals, but the reality is different to this.
For the past 6 years, it has been run by a 1940’s enthusiast who paid for everything herself. She brought her own team of friends and volunteers together and did everything in her spare time.
People often ask where the money went each year and why are the accounts are not available. The answer to that is very simple. Unless you are HMRC, they are private funds in exactly the same way as anybody else’s are.
I have said it many times that she and her team deserve an award and I still stand by that now. However, in my opinion and those of many others, it had grown far too big for such a small village and many locals were upset by some of the activities asked of them. I mentioned this to her when she kindly gave me all the contact details of the vendors, military vehicle owners, entertainers and others used in previous years.
My plan was to reduce the scale of the event, with less alcohol and allocate special parking for residents who were usually asked to move their cars along Main Street and Sun Street. I would have encouraged coaches to park in Keighley and enter Haworth via Keighley & Worth Valley Railway trains or by special shuttle buses from the business station. I had already spoken to the local staff in Sainsburys and Asda about car parking there too, believing I was still involved in the weekend.
But when it was publicly announced that others were ‘taking over’ the weekend without me, I did wonder where they would be holding the event.
As any event manager would do, before any such announcement, you would secure the venues first. The problem was that I had already booked Central Park in the village and shortly after, was allocated the car park by the Bronte Parsonage Museum. This space would have been allocated to residents parking only.
In early December 2023, I decided to step aside and hand everything over to them believing everything was in safe hands. I provisionally booked the village hall so I could get more information about it as its not clear on their website and there’s no number to call. As soon as it became apparent that it wasn’t big enough to generate an income, as tickets would have very limited, I spoke with the village hall representative and cancelled my initial booking which hadn’t actually been paid for.
To my surprise, I was asked to contribute £9k to their event costs which is effectively giving somebody else’s business money when they had their own big plans for generating income. It was cited that the village hall was essential to raising funds, but if that was so, why wasn’t it booked weeks before and had they really calculated the figures? An if that was the only barrier, they could have booked it themselves with 5 months still to go.
The timeline I have privately documented refers to emails, texts and Whatsapp message I had with councillors, Bradford council officers and various other stakeholders to evidence everything.
As of 22nd January 2024, the below Facebook post was still live. Extraordinary circumstances? Obstructive? When they refer to ‘dances’ are they referring to a dance miles away in other places I’ll be hosting them? Maybe there were other reasons? But, why post publicly such a statement? I would never do that.
Was the cancellation really about a little village hall dance that would probably just about break-even? It poses more questions than answers.
In order to add facts, I posted my own comments as shown below. However, and as predicted, they removed all the comments of others asking questions, leaving me no choice but to publish this post and screenshot I had already taken. People can make their own judgements.
My final enquiry about the weekend was to message two Main Street traders and visit another to offer my services for free. None wanted to take the initiative and one was openly hostile to the whole weekend and probably always will.
As that is the case, I wish any organisers well for 2025, which in my opinion, should be led by an open group of residents, parish council with a separate bank account to raise money for local projects and groups. Christmas is managed very well, so why not a smaller 1940s weekend?
However, there seems little or no appetite for it to continue from the few people I contacted and people have since said that with all the local politics and negative attitudes, I am better staying well clear, which is advice I am gladly taking.
30th January 2024 – Had an email from the Yorkshire Post about that statement on Facebook. The Yorkshire Post Facebook page is very busy with ill-informed comments and the comments on the Haworth post have been switched on again, including mine, for everyone to see the truth if they bother looking. I wonder if they read this blog post?
9th February 2024 – After various emails from the Yorkshire Post when I really didn’t want to reply, they called me and I told them the facts about what I was going to do and offered to send them all the emails and messages to the Bradford council officers I’d been dealing with, and confirmed that Victoria Hall in Keighley had never been used as an income source for the weekend and never will be unless it’s really needed. My next dance is likely to be at the Keighley Golf Club where I hold my business networking sessions every Tuesday and tickets for the dance will be available via 1940sdances.com when the big dance at Victoria Hall has sold out. I will now commence a full marketing campaign and post a link to all the 1940s FB groups I’m in. Andrea and Chris have also been invited and we will have a raffle for Mode Rehabilitation who are fully aware of the situation.
Finally, I’d like to offer my hand of friendship so we can all move on and enjoy the Spring that’s coming. I also offer them two free tickets so we can all at least have some fun together. Guys? You have my number.
And maybe next year we can all do it together as a charity fund-raising event…?
P.S. If anyone wants a copy of the Event Plan for the weekend and all the contacts to put on their own dance at the village hall, please get in touch. x