Sunderland Lamplight Festival

Sunderland Council cancels airshow and rethinks events programmes

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Sunderland City Council has announced that it is rethinking its events programme.

As a result of listening to residents’ views at a Let’s Talk consultation last August, the local authority has decided to cancel Sunderland Airshow 2022, citing uncertainty around COVID-19, but is pressing on with plans for the inaugural Lamplight Festival. The consultation focused on seeking views regarding existing events and the type of events that residents would like to see in the future.

Continued uncertainty around the pandemic and the impact this has on planning for events has led to the decision that Sunderland Airshow will not go ahead this summer.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We know from our own experience and that of other event organisers over the last 22 months just how difficult COVID makes it to plan for events, particularly when it comes to large-scale events with a long lead in time such as the Sunderland Airshow.

“Because of the nature of the airshow and the infrastructure and contracts that need to be put in place to support it, we have reached the stage where we would need to commit now to allow the event to go ahead this summer, which we just don’t feel able to do that at the moment. It simply doesn’t make financial sense at this point in time to make such a commitment given the current uncertainty around the pandemic and the fact that we don’t where we are likely to be with COVID come the summer.

“However, residents can rest assured that events remain as important to this city as ever as our own events programme and those of our partners continue to grow and evolve, attracting exciting new events which appeal to residents and visitors alike.

“We also recognise that it’s vital to listen to residents and to refresh our events programme from time to time which is why we held our Let’s Talk events consultation in the summer to give residents the opportunity to give their views on our events programme and the type of new events they would like to see in our city.”

New events for 2022 include the British Triathlon Super Series Grand Final, which for the first time ever is being held at Roker and the seafront over the weekend of August 20 and 21, and the Tour of Britain which visits Sunderland for the first time on September 6.

Councillor Linda Williams, cabinet member, said: “We’ve got a really exciting mix of major new sporting events alongside firmly established family favourites in this year’s programme and there really is something for everyone.

“Residents who took part in our Let’s Talk Events consultation last summer told us that they wanted to see new and different events and ones that they can take part in themselves, as well as attend with family and friends. That’s something that we’ve listened too and tried to reflect with this year’s programme.

“New events for this year include the Lamplight Festival this August. We’re also hoping that some of the major new sporting events we’ve managed to attract to our city this summer, along with others that feature in the city’s annual event programme will inspire more people to take up swimming, cycling and running themselves through our swim, bike, run programme over the next few years.

“So, it’s not just about watching events as a spectator but taking part in them, whether that be volunteering or participating and enjoying all the physical and mental health benefits that you get from being active and out and about in our city with its fantastic green spaces, sporting facilities and coastline.”

This year, Sunderland will host Festival of Light Houghton Feast, BIG Walk and BIG Bike Ride.