Arts Festival may be cancelled

Saturday, April 19, 2003 latest: Thanks to contributions from Festival supporters, 3000 from Calderdale and a 6000 loan from Hebden Royd this year's Festival will now go ahead with its exciting programme.

Friday, April 4, 2003

From the board of the HB Arts Festival

The Hebden Bridge Arts Festival Board last night (3 April) held an emergency meeting following Arts Council England, Yorkshire decision not to fund the 2003 festival. It was decided that if we cannot raise £10,000 in the next two weeks a decision will be made on Thursday 17 April that the 2003 Festival will be cancelled.

This has not been reached lightly. And the Board is making every effort to avert this. Talks are being sought with all local authorities and funding bodies. But we need your help.

We are asking for donations of £100 from individuals and organisations. Please send to the Festival Shop, New Oxford House, Albert Street, Hebden Bridge HX7 8AH by 9.00am 17 April 03. Cheques made out please to Hebden Bridge Arts Festival Ltd. The Festival guarantees to return all cheques in the event of the Festival being cancelled. The Festival guarantees to return all cheques in the event of sufficient public monies being raised. 100 donations of £100 would raise the money needed.

The Festival always liases closely with what was until recently Yorkshire Arts. There was a meeting with the relevant officer (Alison Andrews) in November. A draft bid was sent to her on 11 December with alternative budgets. A message from her on Monday 16 December stated "that there are clear public benefits which are capitalised on with the larger investment and the festival should submit it". The bid was submitted on 19 December. The letter from Arts Council England, Yorkshire typed on 1 April 2003 stated "although it fulfilled the criteria of the scheme, given the number and quality of the applications received and the limited funds available, the project was not viewed a priority in relation to other demands"

The letter was written on behalf of on behalf of Andy Carver, Executive Director.
Telephone number 01924 455 555.
Fax 01924 466 522.
Textphone 01924 438 585.
Address 21 Bond Street, Dewsbury,
West Yorkshire WF13 1AX.

The Chair of Arts Council England, Yorkshire is Sir Norman Adsetts OBE.

The Festival has in the last five years gone from strength to strength with a 500% increase in people attending events. 12,700 attended events in 2002. It has been a celebration of music, theatre, comedy and poetry bringing into our area, and our schools, performers such as Benjamin Zephaniah, Andy Sheppard, Adrian Mitchell, Linda Smith, Rhona Cameron, Snake Davies, Jacqueline Wilson, Gervase Phinn, Ian McMillan, Hank Wangford, Roger McGough, Brian Patten, Anthony Browne, Carol Ann Duffy, Pete McCarthy, Paul Jennings. Among the many booked for the 2003 festival are Clive James, Linda Smith, an exhibition by internationally renowned artist Paula Rego, Jackie Kay, Blake Morrison, top storytellers and, amongst the many events for children, the author of "Horrid Henry", Francesca Simon. Free events have always been included in the programme, ticket prices kept as low as feasible and concessions made available.

The Festival's success has been due to the hard work of hundreds of local people who put in hours of their time and make this Festival truly their own. Festival supporters are urged to make strong representations to the press, the local MP, Calderdale MBC, Hebdenroyd TC and perhaps most importantly Arts Council England, Yorkshire.

"Probably the best blend of 'guest artists' and locally based artists that 'Artscene' has ever seen in a town festival takes place in Hebden Bridge" Artscene June 2002

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