There was some tension at a Falmouth Town Council committee meeting this week after a councillor who questioned ticketing at this year’s Tall Ships event was told to “shut up”.

The request came after Cllr Zoe Young asked a question about the problems with ticketing on the first day of this year’s event on August 15 which caused long queues.

The question followed the handout of a report by town centre manager Richard Gates to members of the finance and general purposes committee about how the event had performed financially.

Mr Gates told the committee that the report showed the top line figures which included income and expenditure.

He said it also showed booking fees and various grants that had come in.

“One thing I would say that to put on tall ships events in other places could cost up to £2million,” he said. “We saved some money because the Parade of Sail didn’t happen because of the weather.

He said there were costs involved in that and seeing them off on the Saturday, but overall it had cost Falmouth around £314,000 to put on the event. He said they hadn’t had to pay a hosting fee, just a percentage of the ticket sales and the docks had dropped their prices “significantly”.

He said around 102 to 103,000 ticket had been bought, mostly in advance.

“Yes, we did have the challenges on the Tuesday,” he said. “With people all turning up at the same time which did create some challenges. However people were much more sensible thanks to the press and everyone who communicated that out.”

He said sales of advances tickets had continued to go up the following two days.

Cllr Jayne Kirkham said that Mr Gates and BID manager Richard Wilcox had done “absolute magic” in getting all the costs of the event down.

Cllr Steve Eva said they were looking at an underspend of £200,000.

“To deliver such an event as a town led by the two Richards and his staff was tremendous,” he said.

He said the event was likely to have brought in around ten to twenty million pounds into the town.

“That is why we’re here and I think we’ve done an excellent job,” he said. He acknowledged that the first day was a “bit difficult” but that was because they’d been so successful in getting everyone there.

However, Cllr Young said while she absolutely loved the tall ships event it had been a real shock to some people that there had been a charge to go on board the ships.

She said a lot of people didn’t realise that not only did they have to pay to go on board the ships but also to get into the docks.

She said following the VIP tour when she came up later there was a very large crowd and she had spoken to someone working for the council who told her it was a “disaster”.

“Someone else used some quite rude words to describe to me what was happening,” she said. She said the volunteers had not been fully trained in advance and there was no division on the line with those who had booked and those who hadn’t.

“Things got very messy on that first day,” she said.


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At this point she was interrupted by committee chairman Jude Robinson who asked her if there was a question about the finance of the event.

She said there was and she had been asking for weeks now for sequential ticket sales data on the door and online but it had not been made available to her.

Again Cllr Robinson interrupted Cllr Young raising her voice telling her: “If you don’t shut up I’m going to adjourn the meeting until you do shut up.”

Cllr Robinson moved that the report be noted and ignored Cllr Young’s question on whether there was going to be reply about the requested data.