Chairman leaves gig on high note

At the Big Gig event in Broad Town are Harry and Ollie Peck. Pictures: Vicky Scipio

Riley and Tennessee Isaacs

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @BerenCross

CHAIRMAN Keith Newman made this year’s Broad Town Big Gig his last after eight years in charge but he leaves it at its biggest-ever size for a successor.

Keith is moving to North Devon before the next Big Gig comes around as he is seeking a change in lifestyle, though not before he ensured Saturday’s event was at its grandest scale yet.

The event has been running in the small village since 2006 and each year it has grown a little more, with the 500 tickets on sale all sold out on Saturday.

“Now we know what we are doing it’s gone quite smoothly,” he said.

“You have the usual last-minute hitches and issues, but nothing you can prepare for.

“It’s all worked out well and we think we have sold out.”

Gates opened on Saturday at The Show Field in the village at 3pm, with Mid West Big Band the first act on at 3.30pm.

Many of those gathered at the earlier stages of the festival were very excited for the 9pm arrival of Swindon chart-topper Josh Kumra, who was returning to the event for a second time.

Despite names like Kumra on the line-up and a growing interest in the event, Keith said the festival will not grow any further.

He said: “We won’t go any bigger than this. It’s manageable at this size, if we go any bigger it becomes a numbers game, which introduces new problems.

“The challenge is the bigger you get the more it costs, the more numbers you get the more security you need.

“Economically there is a point where, at 500, we make some money but above that the overheads to manage so many more people become too high and affect the money you make.

“It obviously won’t be me looking at any growth now, anyway. Hopefully other people in the village step in and pick up the reins because the blueprint is there.

“All it needs is a little tweaking to make the way they want to see it.”

Asked if he knew of anyone likely to take on the Big Gig in his absence, Keith said: “No comment.”

For many, this year’s Big Gig was their first, including Karen King, 50, a hotel events manager from West Swindon.

She said: “I have had time to sample the burgers, cider and music and I think it’s a nice place to come and relax.

“The whole thing is great for families, that’s the big difference to other festivals around.

“The only thing I would change would be one or two more stalls, because the initial advertising makes you think there’s going to be a lot more here.”

Kathryn Manley, 34, of Kimbolton Close in Freshbrook was attending her third Big Gig. She said: “My parents only live a couple of doors down, which makes this a great local event for us to come to.

All money raised at the Big Gig this year went to Goldenhar Family Support Group and Armed Forces charity SSAFA.

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