This year’s Great British Rhythm And Blues Festival will go ahead despite severe funding cuts, organisers have confirmed.
But the long-term future of the award-winning event remains in doubt after local authorities were told to find £837,000 in savings across the board, including the removal of £300,000 from Pendle Leisure Trust’s budget.
The festival has taken place in Colne, Lancashire, every August for 26 years, with around 30,000 people attending. In November it was reported that 2015’s edition could have been the last.
Pendle Council last week agreed to pay £60,000 towards the annual costs, but it wasn’t clear if that was sufficient. Now Pendle Leisure Trust say: “The beat goes on! We’re delighted to announce that this year’s festival will be going ahead.”
Council leader Mohammed Iqbal tells the Lancashire Telegraph: “The festival was never under threat for this year. I would urge everyone in Colne and Pendle to get along and support the event over the August bank holiday.”
Deputy leader Tony Greaves adds: “We’re determined to set up the blues on a sustainable basis in future years, so we’re starting to plan for 2017 now. Due to spending cuts imposed by the government, Pendle Council cannot go on subsidising it for ever.”
Last year’s lineup starred Pat McManus, Coco Montoya, Nikki Hill, Courtney Pine, Tommy Castro, Nine Below Zero and many others. Details for this year’s event will be revealed in due course.