Quagmire park sparks agricultural show cancellation

The muddy scene at Butefest  (Pic: Cath Ruane)
The muddy scene at Butefest (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Bute Agricultural Show has been cancelled.

The event was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, August 9 – but the condition of the site, used by Butefest over the weekend, forced organisers to call it off.

It’s believed to be the first time in the event’s 211 years that it has fallen victim to the weather.

Parts of the King George V Park became a quagmire as heavy rain fell during the three days of Butefest.

The mud was several inches deep in some places as fans moved round the site, followed by further heavy showers on Monday which compounded the challenge of getting the area ready for another major event within a matter of days.

The decision to cancel the agricultural event was taken just 24 hours after the music festival ended.

Robert McIntyre, former councillor, said the blame lay with the weather and the ’’extraordinary rain.’’

‘‘It was a quagmire,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’’

The park hosts three major events within a matter of weeks – Butefest, Bute Agricultural Show and the island’s Highland Games – and there have been calls to look at how best to manage them and ensure the park remains in good condition throughout.

‘‘The only thing to blame for the cancellation is the weather, but maybe the directors of each one need to sit down and have a re-think for next year,’’ said Mr McIntyre.

He added: ‘‘Butefest is a great boost to the island and a fantastic event, the cattle show is a big event, and the Highland Games are the jewel in the crown.

‘‘Three events in such a short timescale is a big ask.’’

The team behind Butefest – which is already looking ahead to 2018 – expressed its sadness at the cancellation of the agricultural show.

Hazel Mulholland, who chairs the festival team, said: ‘‘We are of course saddened to hear that the agricultural show will not be going ahead this year due to the unfortunate weather conditions – four inches of rain inches in July alone, with more expected this week and over the weekend.

‘‘We do everything we can to protect the site, and will be working with them, the council and other park users to find ways to improve the drainage and access for vehicles to the park to make the site suitable for multiple events and activities all year.’’