Devizes is to have a paid director of fun and games to run all the town’s events and entertainment during the year.
The town council last week agreed to spend £10,000 a year for the next three years on the post. The part-time events director will take charge of the carnival, including the international street festival, the Christmas festival and any other events that crop up.
Councillors heard from John Gaca, treasurer of Devizes Development Partnership, and Dave Buxton, the artistic director of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts, which runs the events, that the management of fun and games should be put on a more professional footing.
The partnership is seeking funding of £28,000 for the 30-hour-a-week post, with £18,000 of that coming from the Arts Council of England. The town council has made its grant conditional on the match-funding from the Arts Council transpiring.
A proposal paper presented to the meeting of the town council’s community and civic resources committee said: “The growing success of the Devizes International Street Festival, Devizes Carnival and Devizes Christmas Festival contributes significantly to the cultural richness and long-term economy of the town.
“However, the success and large scale of these events also means that demand for professional event management and co-ordination has increased and is essential if they are to continue at the present level.”
It has been calculated that all three events bring an estimated £250,000 into the economy of the town.
Dave Buxton, who holds the post of artistic director with funding from the Arts Council, said he hoped to lay down the burden when the new director was appointed in the next 12 months.
But he told the Gazette that was not likely to happen before next year’s events.
He said: “The time has come when I need to stop doing this and go off and do something else but I will always be on hand to help out and I shall be working with the new person. There will be no sudden retirement.”
Mr Buxton, who founded Devizes Books in Sidmouth Street with his wife Sue before moving into publishing, started the international street festival with town councillor Ian Hopkins 12 years ago and it is now one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the country.