Pirate festival cancelled over ‘bully tactics’
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
A popular pirate festival that attracted thousands of visitors to a seaside town every year, has been cancelled after members of the organising committee quit over “bully tactics”.
The annual Conwy Pirate Festival kicked off the tourist season every year in May with fancy dress, games, treasure hunts, music, market stalls, Morris dancers and performers.
Many shopkeepers and pub landlords within the walled town also decorated their business with skull and crossbones and flags, but the event has been cancelled after key members of the committee walked away.
A statement on the festival’s Facebook page suggested there had been a falling out.
The statement read: “Facebook is not the place to go into detail.
“However, we can say that the pointing of fingers, calling of names, and the issuing of threats will never be tolerated.
“We, the Conwy Chamber of Trade, do not and will not support bully tactics by anyone involved or associated with one of our events – even if standing against such behaviour leads to us having to cancel that event.”
The Pirate Festival was started in 2012 and remained as a Chamber of Trade event in 2013 and 2014.
In 2015, 2016, and 2017, it was taken on by a private events company.
Whilst the festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, the event came back under the management of Conwy’s Chamber of Trade between 2018 and 2023.
Russel Erwood, chairman of Conwy’s Chamber of Trade, said: “I know a lot of people will be saddened to hear that we’ve had to cancel the Original Conwy Pirate Festival.
“It’s not a decision that was taken lightly.
“But with key members of the organising committee walking away from the event, we feel it is far better to end on a high than try to run the event with major elements missing and it not living up to expectations.
“Although this is the end of the Pirate Festival, it is far from being the end of events in Conwy.
“As sad as it is when something we love ends, it is also a great opportunity to create something new and exciting as well as focus more strongly on those other events we have coming up.
“Our next Chamber of Trade event is Winterfest, and that takes place on the 9 December.
“This is our annual Christmas event, the highlight of which sees over 100 medieval re-enactors parade through Conwy town carrying flaming torches.
“If you’ve never seen it, it’s a spectacle you’ll not want to miss.”
Conwy councillor Sian Grady was saddened the event had been cancelled.
“It is extremely distressing to hear about the end of the Pirate Festival,” she said.
“It is an integral part of our calendar in Conwy.
“It is a great event, and everybody looks forward to it. It is so important to our area, to the town, and the county.
“It brings hundreds of people in from outside the area. It is a great atmosphere for Conwy.
“It has always been run really well, and to hear it has been cancelled after all the quay events and the Food Festival, it is a sad day for Conwy.”
She added: “Last year was a wonderful weekend. The shops, pubs, kids will suffer.
“We had so many festivals in the past. We are lucky we have the Honey Fair and The Seed Fair, which are still going and thriving, but Conwy needs festivals.
“We need them for the area. Every weekend we have an event is a boost for our shops and pubs.”
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