Bristol Balloon Fiesta at risk after losing £60,000 to wet weather

  • Watch Richard Payne's report

Organisers of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta say they face tough decisions over its future.

Over the weekend, wet weather grounded several flights and some people stayed away.

Losses are estimated at around £60,000 with questions over whether it can remain a free event and on the scale it is now.

The cost of staging the four-day event at Ashton Court on the edge of Bristol has risen by more than 35% to £850,000.

This is partly recovered through parking, sponsorship and site fees but a shortfall remains.

"Is the cost base sustainable? Is there a different way of doing this?" event Director Ben Hardy told ITV News West Country.

"We have to, as a board of trustees, sit down and decide if there are new and different ways of doing things.

"This is a big, major international event and we need the public and businesses supporting us."

Ashton Court was looking muddy after a weekend of wet weather

He revealed the organisers 'seriously considered' whether to charge people an entry fee for the first time in the fiesta's 45-year history.

However, they decided it should remain free to try to attract as many people as possible. He would not rule out it being an option in future years, however.

Two of a potential seven mass ascents took place with around 50 balloons taking off each on Friday morning and evening.

But large weekend crowds were disappointed by wind and rain keeping crews grounded.

There were two popular night-glows, however, and Mr Hardy said the feedback he'd received from the public and balloonists was overwhelmingly positive.

"I would have taken what we ended up with," he added. "It was looking pretty bad from a flying point of view initially, so we're delighted."

Again, there has been talk of moving the August event to September but Mr Hardy said: "I've not met anyone yet who can 100% guarantee the weather we need for any particular weekend in any particular month."