COUNCIL chiefs in York have agreed to award up to £30,000 to support an “important” Viking festival in the city next year.

City of York Council (CYC) will hand the funding to York Archaeological Trust to support the JORVIK Viking Festival in February 2022, as part of the local authority's ARG (additional restrictions grant) events and festivals fund, allowing the full seven-day event to go ahead in the city.

Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust, said: “We know the huge economic impact that the annual JORVIK Viking Festival brings to the city.

“We have seen outdoor events in the last couple of months prove hugely popular, so hopefully this will give the 2022 visitor season a great kickstart.”

A report to the council said the festival was an "important part” of the city’s winter programme - and was “popular both with visitors and with York residents.”

Expecting reduced income from ticket sales, York Archaeological Trust had been planning to run a smaller festival, removing some of the free events such as the Viking re-enactment parade and battle, the St Sampson’s Square stage with best beard, strongest Viking and storytelling events and the ‘Living History Encampment’ with barriers and security.

However, the £30,000 grant will allow the trust to run the free events - the report says - under the condition that if ticket sales are better than expected, the grant from York council will be reduced.

The funding from the council is to be reviewed after the event, with any income to the festival above £40,000 to be used to repay some or all of the grant after the festival has taken place next year.

The funding will come from the Additional Restrictions Grant, externally funded by Government, and will have no impact on council budgets.

The decision was made by Neil Ferris, corporate director of place at City of York Council, on Monday (September 6).

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Viking Festival in the city was cancelled in February 2022.

Instead, the archaeological trust put together the ‘Jorvik Viking Thing’ - which included hours pre-recorded online content and live broadcasts released over six days for viewers to enjoy.