Doncaster Pride has defended its plans to charge entry to this year’s festival.

Yesterday, PinkNews.co.uk reported that the August 21st festival would charge £3 to each visitor over the age of 16.

Pride spokeswoman Jen Dewsnap said organisers had been “inundated” with emails from readers who accused the festival of “greed”.

Most Pride festivals do not charge entry.

This week, the event announced it had received a £24,500 grant from the National Lottery to pay for “major core costs” such as stage, lighting, sound equipment, security and first aid.

Ms Dewsnap said: “As you’ll know many Prides fail to prosper and year on year we see many local Prides to us struggle to raise funds – we’ve been there ourselves in previous years so we have chosen to charge for a number of reasons.”

She said costs had gone up “massively” on last year due to a move from the marketplace to the racecourse. She said the venue had “core costs of over £10,000 before we start”.

She added that organisers had not been able to charge in previous years because the marketplace was an open area.

Ms Dewsnap said: “We tried the old bucket shaking and I think we got about £35 from 8,000 people.”

She continued: “We want to be sustainable and have produced a growth plan which builds on us being able to bank entry fees this year for next – quite a leap forward when you consider many Prides are desperate on the day to bring in income to pay for what they’ve already committed to for that years event.

“We can’t apply to the Lottery again as their rules state you cant apply consecutive years. We also know funding is increasingly difficult to secure and without our £3 entry fee this year we may not have a Pride 2011 – so all the effort and the move to larger venue for safety reasons this year will be fruitless.

“The £3 buys entry to a full 12 hour event including the afterparty at no additional cost – so we’ve done our bit to keep this excellent value for money and provide for a sustainable future for our event.”