News release - Issued by JORVIK
“It was York’s unique waterlogged conditions that preserved the Viking remains in Coppergate for 1000 years, and we’ve learned that there is no way to tame the elements. With so much standing water on our potential battlefield at Rawcliffe Country Park at the moment, we’ve decided to move the Festival finale back to its recent home of the Eye of York,” comments event manager, Nicola Harkess.
Safety concerns for those wielding weapons with slippery conditions underfoot during the evening combat event as well as concerns over the condition in which the ground would be left after the event, have forced festival organisers at JORVIK Viking Centre to relocate the Festival Finale. Bloodaxe’s Last Stand will now take place on the evening of Saturday 25 February at the Eye of York (adjacent to Clifford’s Tower).
“The ground is currently saturated so even in the unlikely situation where we have very little rain over the next fortnight, we can’t be confident that the site will be dry enough by 25 February for us to go ahead safely – and we don’t want to compromise the enjoyment of the event for those who are attending, many of whom will be travelling long distances to experience the largest Viking Festival in Europe,” adds Nicola.
As Nicola explains, “We are incredibly grateful to City of York Council for their support in helping us with the venue change, and delighted to be working with English Heritage again to make sure Clifford’s Tower once again plays a part in the finale. We will continue to look for alternative larger venues for the finale for future years so that this core part of York’s winter events calendar can continue to grow and benefit the city as a whole.”
Research conducted by Visit York on the 2016 JORVIK Viking Festival estimated that over 52,000 visitors had attended the Festival, generating an economic impact of £5.9 million. The Festival is organised entirely by York Archaeological Trust, operators of the JORVIK Viking Centre, which re-opens on 8 April 2017 following the December 2015 flooding. “If there is one thing we have learned from King Canute, it is that no man – king, Viking or otherwise – can hold back the water!” concludes Nicola.
For further information about this year’s JORVIK Viking Festival, please visit www.jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk or follow #JVF17 on social media.
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