Comment on Skegness SEAS Festival Finale Event Complaint to East Lindsey District Council by David Law.

Letter of complaint regarding the SEAS Festival Finale Written Response from East Lindsey District Council.

My wife sent in the written complaint first week in November and below is their response dated 11th November (quick response from ELDC).

David Law

Dear Mrs Law,

Letter of complaint regarding the SEAS Festival Finale (03.10.03)

Thank you for your letter which arrived in my office today, 11 November 2009. I am truly sorry that the content of the two short performances which began the Finale event in the embassy Theatre caused you and your family such dismay at the outset of what then proceeded to be a delightful five hours of music, dance and film.

East Lindsey District Council programmed the Finale in collaboration with colleagues from the Arts Council East Midlands Region as well as the international SEAS project. The Finale was seen as an opportunity for Arts Council England to showcase work by regional artists alongside and in response to the international programme, and we therefore ‘made space’ for a series of small acts by Nottingham-based organisation, which had been described to my staff in a manner which suggested they would be fun and ‘harmless’.

The fact that the first piece, ‘Melinda Deathgoth – Depressed American Teenager’ contained swearing (we were not given similar information about the second performance) was only brought to our attention the evening before the event, and so we ensured that a warning to this effect was included in the printed programme circulated on the day of the Finale. Had we been able to preview the performance, and had we been made aware of it’s content, we would have reprogrammed the event, as I would agree that this was absolutely not the way to begin the evening.

Unfortunately we can only deal with this problem in hindsight. Please be assured that we had internal discussions about this immediately after the festival and published a response to your web-based comments on 5th October 2009. In addition we issued an apology through the press, which was printed in the East Coast Target on 7th October 2009.

The SEAS Festival, which incorporated 130 events over 10 days has achieved positive national, regional and local publicity and raised the profile for the arts in East Lindsey and Lincolnshire as a whole. Quite apart from dismay for the way in which our failing in this matter has created a negative experience for the whole SEAS festival for some people, we are frustrated that our hard work in liaising in detail at an international level over the past 2 years to create this festival has been let down by two 15 minute performances on the last day of the event.

I can only ask that you forgive this mistake and accept that we will be learning an important lesson from it.

Yours sincerely,

Semantha Neal
Business Manager (Health, Arts & Events)