After a lack of town council funding, organisers of a seafront festival bringing ‘Britain’s biggest guitar band’ together have decided this year will be the last.

The popular Guitars On The Beach (GOTB) takes place on Lyme Regis beach with hundreds of guitarists of all ages and abilities coming together to play on the sand, but after eight years the festival will take place for the last time on June 27.

The event missed out on grant funding from Lyme Regis Town Council, which was allocated earlier this month.

Organisers will launch a fundraising drive in order to try and raise enough money to stage the last event this year.

But organisers aim to go out with the ‘loudest bang yet’ as they plan to stage 12 hours of guitar songs to support one last call for more music to be played in schools, a key part of GOTB’s philosophy since the event began in 2013.

Brian Street, GOTB chairman and musical director, said: “Sadly, this year is going to be our swansong in Lyme. But we’ve got not choice because of the lack of support.

“For the past seven years we have had great support from little local businesses and organisations, including, in the past, the town council, and we are hugely grateful for their help. But now that support has dried up.

“We have had generous pledges of sponsorship for this year, but even if you add that to our little savings, we’re currently a long way short of what we need to put on a show.

“It’s always been a struggle to stage GOTB in Lyme because you have to remember that our show is totally free, it is completely reliant on sponsorship and donations as you can’t charge people for playing music on a public beach.

“We were astonished and gutted that the town council wouldn’t help us - especially when you consider that, as the owner of most of the town’s car parks, Lyme Regis Town Council makes more money out of GOTB than anybody else. Some years the entire beach has been covered by thousands of people and they didn’t all walk here.

“Also, over the seven years we’ve been doing GOTB, many of those thousands of visitors have bought a pint in the pubs, had a meal in the cafes and restaurants or have even made a weekend stay of it at the local B&Bs, hotels and campsites. Lyme has done very well out of GOTB, very well.

“But we’ve had little back. Our sponsors have been very loyal, but they have been relatively few. So, after years of all the organisers and the bands doing all that they do for nothing, we’ve decided this will be the last GOTB - at least in Lyme, other towns are very interested in us moving it to their seafront or fields.”

Grants worth £60,000 a year were given to seven local organisations at a Lyme Regis Town Council meeting earlier this month. This included £10,000 to LymeForward, £10,000 to The Hub, £22,000 to the Marine Theatre, £1,500 to Axe Valley Ring and Ride, £4,500 to Bridport and District CAB, £7,000 to Lyme Regis Museum and £5,000 to B Sharp.

Town clerk John Wright said: “Term grants give financial support to organisations whose functions and services are important to the community and its wellbeing. Funding is for up to five years and totals almost £300,000.

“Determining who should get what was always going to be difficult for the council - 18 organisations submitted applications for £167, 292. After two hours of discussion, which at times was difficult and emotional, the council made its final decisions.

“There are further opportunities for Lyme Regis-based organisations to apply for grant funding, within the next few days, the town council opens up its community fund. Community fund grants are up to £1,000, the fund has an annual budget of £20,000 and will run for the next five years.

“The council is disappointed to hear this year will be the last Guitars on the Beach and would like to thank the organisers for all the efforts they have put in over the years.”

However, organisers of GOTB believe that the last show could be the best show yet.

Geoff Baker, founder of GOTB, said; “We’re going to go out with our biggest, loudest bang. And we will also loudly bang the drum for more music to be taught in schools, something we have been campaigning about for years.

This June 27 will be the last performance in Lyme by a wonderful group of people, guitarists of all ages and abilities who came together from all over the UK to form what is officially Britain’s biggest guitar band.

“We hold the UK record for the biggest guitar band, some 3,000 who gathered here in 2014 to accompany Ian Gillan on Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’, but Poland holds with world record with over 7,000 players.

“It would be great if this last year in Lyme we could beat the Poles, but it doesn’t matter if we don’t and frankly, we’re not going to even try. What matters is that we all go out playing rock and roll in defiance of all those who don’t approve of supporting having fun on a beach.”

Details of the Just Giving fundraising drive will be announces shortly on social media.

For more information on GOTB, visit or its Facebook page.