By Michelle Horst
Attracting an estimated 10,000 people, Hornsea’s Biker Event has developed into a major part of the town’s summer calendar – but organisers now say the popular festival is under threat because of a shortage of funds.
The event has grown organically to draw visitors from outside the region, and bikers and fans have enjoyed its music and shows since its creation in 2015.
It is one of several events organised by the Hornsea Foundation to support the community.
Chairman Sid Tracey has been the driving force behind the festival since its creation, but he has recently suffered sight loss.
While this has required some restructuring within the charity, Sid’s passion for the Biker event remains undimmed. Funds from the annual festival have provided support to the Hornsea First Aid Centre, Hornsea Foodbank, Hornsea Inshore Rescue and many more charities in the town.
The valuable impact and community involvement are the responsibility of three main organisers.
Trustee Alan Cusworth said: “It’s a huge community event, and volunteers are a huge part of us being able to make it happen.
“Even though Sid has lost his sight, he’s keen to see it through, though. His sheer willpower will make it happen.”
Family has always been the focus of the Biker Event, creating a space for people to enjoy and learn about the biker lifestyle, while being able to enjoy a range of activities.
Alan added: “Without the volunteers’ help, we couldn’t do any of this. They provide the extra hands to allow us to do bucket collections, and put important marshals in place to keep the public safe. Our volunteers are invaluable.”
Despite the community involvement, lack of funding and sponsors now puts 2024’s Biker Event at risk.
One casualty of the lack of funding is the event’s popular Variety Stage. The stage provided a space for local up-and-coming music talent to perform, sometimes for the first time, to a large audience.
Alan said: “It’s something we were pleased to do. It gave us an opportunity to provide diverse music talent from pop, folk and rock. We understand it is a range of music that brings people to the event just as much as the bikes.
“We encourage local bands looking to develop their local presence to be part of the Biker Event. It’s a great opportunity to promote a growing band.
“We get in-kind help from local businesses. The Biker Event couldn’t happen without it. Barry Geekie Haulage at Catfoss and John Bird at Catwick provide trailers and transport to help us move the stage into place.
“And we’re lucky to have Long Beach Leisure Park as a sponsor. They’ve always supported us. We want to improve. Provide more. Hornsea deserves more.”
When asked if part of the problem the Biker Event is experiencing is because of its own success, Alan responded: “We’re proud that the event has grown. We’re exploring possible ways to keep the Biker Event as part of the community, for the community, while working within council regulations.”
However, Hornsea Foundation’s plans are hampered not just by the need for sponsors, but by legal limitations and government procedures, too. Alan explained: “We always complete risk assessments for road management. But we know the day causes a lot of traffic. There are ideas such as using a one-way system, but it is difficult to put in place. The council fees prevent us from doing more.
“More volunteers would help us with marshals, but public safety must come first and we need to work with East Riding Council and other official departments. The council’s fees for road closures impact what we can do.”
The Hornsea Foundation is also responsible for the Music Weekend on May 26 and the Classic Car Event due to take place on July 14 this year, in association with the East Yorkshire Thoroughbred Car Club.
Alan added: “Last year’s bucket collections were low. We really wanted to include something like the Wall of Death. We’d love to see more biker-related stalls, and in 2024 we hope to have a Steampunk area too. None of the trustees want to see an end to the Biker Event.”
This year’s Biker Event is scheduled for Sunday, August 18.
Sponsors, stallholders, anyone wanting to help, as well as bands interested in performing, can all contact the organisers directly via email at [email protected] or the website at hornseabikerevent.org.uk.