A festival on the coast is facing a backlash after deciding to move to the same weekend as another big event. 

This week, the organisers of the Out There Festival in Great Yarmouth announced the dates for next year's event will be switched to the first weekend of June - when the town's Comic Con normally takes place. 

Since 2018, Comic Con has taken place at Great Yarmouth Racecourse over that weekend, while Out There traditionally entertains crowds over two days in September.

The organisers of the Comic Con, Philip and Karen Welsby, have expressed frustration over the move.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: People at Great Yarmouth Comic Con festival in 2021. People at Great Yarmouth Comic Con festival in 2021. (Image: Jessica Coppin)

And while Out There have said it is an opportunity to "work collaboratively", the decision has been slammed by businesses on Regent Road who say moving the festival to June will "damage" the local economy. 

Both sides are meeting next week to discuss the matter.

Mr Welsby said he first heard rumours that Out There were planning the switch some months ago. 

"We contacted them. We asked them to please not clash with ours, that festivals should not be in competition, that they should work together," he said. 

But they heard nothing back. 

He said a privately funded festival like Comic Con cannot compete with a free event like Out There which is funded by Arts Council England and supported by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Norfolk County Council.

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Great Yarmouth Mercury: People enjoying the Out There festival in Great Yarmouth in 2022. People enjoying the Out There festival in Great Yarmouth in 2022. (Image: Sonya Duncan)

Mr Welsby said: "Both events should be able to run successfully in the town. There are enough weekends for all events to run in Yarmouth.

"It’s just crazy they are putting theirs on the one weekend in the year when there is another big event in the town."

This year’s Comic Con brought 4,000 people to the town, while Out There brings in tens of thousands of people. 

Great Yarmouth Mercury: A juggler at the Out There Festival in Great Yarmouth in 2022. A juggler at the Out There Festival in Great Yarmouth in 2022. (Image: Sonya Duncan)

Marcin Rodwell, communications and audience development manager of Out There Arts, said: "As Great Yarmouth’s cultural offer expands and grows due to the fantastic work the local organisers have put in, simultaneous events will be more common.

"We see this is a real opportunity to work collaboratively."

He said they hope to work with Great Yarmouth Comic Con.

"Year on year, the Out There Festival brings in tens of thousands of people to the town and generates millions of pounds to the economy.

"Together we can build on these achievements." 

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Businesses on Regent Road in Great Yarmouth said they need the Out There Festival to take place in September.Businesses on Regent Road in Great Yarmouth said they need the Out There Festival to take place in September. (Image: Archant)

Businesses along Regent Road disagree. 

Paul Platten, who runs the arts and crafts store Something Different, said: "It's going to be very damaging to the local economy.

"When the Out There Festival was on last weekend, my takings were 25pc up on the previous Saturday because of increased footfall.

"We need the festival in September," he added. 

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Paul Walia, who runs the shop T-Shirt King, echoed those comments.

"It's pointless moving it to that time of year when there are already plenty of people in Yarmouth," he said. 

"It's for when the season is over it brings people to the town."

He also said it was "not fair" on the organisers of Comic Con who "put on a good event" every year.

Belinda Plane, who works at Tickles, a costume shop, said she did not agree with the decision. 

"Why ruin two good things?" she said. "People come to the town for the Out There festival and they stay for it.

"To put it on the same day [as Comic Con], there's no thought put into it. Shops need something in the later part of the year.

"I do hope they reconsider," she added.