Trader’s fears for Bikefest

There are fears for the future of the BMF Bikefest event in Kelso and the impact on the local economy after the organisers went into liquidation.

The event has attracted tens of thousands of motorbiking enthusiasts to the region since it was first held at Springwood Park in 1999.

Mulberry Events Limited announced it was going into voluntary liquidation shortly after the motorcycle event concluded at Springwood Park earlier this month.

Mark Hay, vice-chairman of Kelso Chamber of Trade and owner of the Queen’s Head and Cheers Bars, said should the event not run next year, or be moved from Kelso, the impact on the town’s economy would be significant.

“All the licensed premises and shops in Kelso get a good turn from the BMF event, the same as the scooter rally, and you see people laden with bags walking back over the bridge to the showground.”

Mr Hay added that his company had provided bars for the event, but confirmed he had been paid by the organisers.

He said that the general state of the economy, the clash with the Tour de France in Yorkshire, and a lack of advertising for the event may have contributed to a fall in attendance.

“On the Sunday you would normally have thousands come in on the day, but this year it was only hundreds,” Mr Hay said.

However, he added that the event seemed to have been more appealing this year with more bands playing across two full days.

Mr Hay said he hoped the event would return next year under new management.

Ron Wilson, Border Union Agricultural Society secretary, said the liquidators had been in touch, but would not comment further regarding financial matters until he had spoken with them directly.

He added that annual events at the showground get first option for booking for the next year, but due to the circumstance nothing was yet in place for Bikefest for 2015.

BMF (British Motorcyclists’ Federation) chairman Roger Ellis said: “The BMF is sorry to learn that its contractor used for organising the three BMF shows, Mulberry Events Limited, has announced that it is now entering into voluntary liquidation.”

Mr Ellis added: “There will be a lot of hard work and planning from this point so the BMF can reorganise arrangements to carry on with its events, in whatever form, for 2015 and onwards.”

Commenting on the news on the BMF Motorcycle Rider magazine webpage, one Edinburgh biker said: “Not surprising. I was just at the Kelso show and it was dead.

“Very few stands and not a lot of people. A pity, in days past it was huge.”