Goose Fair controversy: show teams threaten site move as fee proposed for Nottingham event

The show men and women from the Goose Fair would rather move sites than agree with council plans to charge an admission fee. 

For nearly 100 years, the annual event has taken place on the council owned Forest Recreational Ground, but with plans to charge for admission and implement a fence to keep visitor numbers down the showmen have said they'll look elsewhere if they have to.

  • The story so far

Fencing off Nottingham's famous Goose Fair and charging the public an entry fee are among the controversial ideas being put forward by the city council to control visitor numbers at the Forest Recreation Ground.

The 700-year-old event is provisionally due to take place in October, with organisers trying to find a way for it to go ahead safely. 

Ideas include:

  • Making the fair a 10-day event to spread visitors out is another suggestion being considered.

  • Charge an admission fee

  • Putting a fence around the site

The council say the ideas for fencing and a charge are only a contingency if the Government introduce Covid passports for large events. They say "it is just one option under consideration, with the charge to cover the cost of fencing."

The proposal to charge admission has been slammed by the Showman's Guild, the body which works with Nottingham City Council to stage the annual event.

William Percival, chairman of the Nottinghamshire branch of the Showman's Guild, said admission fees would ruin the annual fair, which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Many of Nottingham's major annual events have been cancelled again this year, including Splendour, the Riverside Festival, Nottingham Beach and the Caribbean Carnival.

A decision has yet to be made about whether the fair - pencilled in for Wednesday October 6 to Sunday October 10 - will be able to go ahead.

Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark, Nottingham City Council's portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: "No firm decisions have been taken yet about this year's Goose Fair but in our planning for the event we are currently considering some options.”

A decision on the Goose Fair’s fate is expected to be reached by the end of August.

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