Charity volunteers are "losing sleep" over soaring costs and fears a beloved festival may be in its final year.

As it shared a fundraiser for The Rickmansworth Festival, Rickmansworth Waterways Trust said the cost of putting the event on has increased from around £60,000 to £70,000 in a year.

This has put future festivals, usually attended by 20,000 to 30,000 people, in doubt.

Watford Observer: The main live music stage at Rickmansworth Festival in 2022The main live music stage at Rickmansworth Festival in 2022

“Everything has gone up considerably,” said Rickmansworth Waterways Trust chairman Dr David Montague. “Normally by now we would have raised all the funds to cover our costs.”

Instead, the charity has found itself £10,000 short of the amount it needs less than two months away from May 20 and 21, when the festival will be held at the Rickmansworth Aquadrome and Batchworth Lock.

The trust may end up having to take a financial hit that could impact its other charity work by making up the difference from its reserves, but says it is not considering cancelling the festival on such short notice.

Dr Montague acknowledged that if the event didn't go ahead next year "there will be a lot of disappointed Rickmansworth residents”, but added: "It might put the financial position of the charity at risk if we put in on again."

Last year, thousands enjoyed the first festival back after the pandemic. It featured live music, canal boats, air shows, food and drink stalls, a funfair and parade.

Watford Observer: The main festival car park accessed from Stockers Farm RoadThe main festival car park accessed from Stockers Farm Road

Entry is free, and the organisers say they would not be able to close off such a large area to start charging for tickets even if they wanted to.

Donations can be made via a JustGiving page. In the first week the it raised £830, not including Gift Aid, against a £10,000 goal.

Dr Montague, who has organised the festival for 20 years, said it has been a “really stressful” time for the charity.

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He added: “I’m losing sleep at night. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to put on community events."

The 66-year-old explained that on top of rising costs for the organisers, the people and businesses that usually donate or volunteer are less able to this year as they feel the squeeze themselves.

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