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Great British R&B Festival under threat

Government austerity measures mean local council can’t pay for award-winning event

The Great British Rhythm And Blues Festival, which has taken place in Colne, Lancashire, for the past 26 years, is under threat as a result of government austerity measures.

London authorities have imposed spending cuts on the local council, meaning they’re no longer able to support the event.

The Pendle Leisure Trust, which operates the August festival on behalf of Pendle Council, lost £50,000 during the 2015 edition, and has been ordered to save an additional £74,000 in 2016.

The Great British R&B Festival was named the best event of its kind at the European Blues Awards in 2013 and 2014. This year’s instalment included over 600 acts in eight venues over four days, including headline act Pat McManus.

Council leader Mohammed Iqbal says: “We need to ensure the festival is delivered to the people of Pendle and beyond, whether or not it is organised by the Leisure Trust.”

Councillor Tony Greaves adds: “We have made sure the administration is committed to having a festival next year – but the financial situation is desperate due to circumstances over which we have no control.”

He hopes it’s possible to run the event without incurring a loss, and without affecting its quality, adding: “It’s a great showcase for the town. It will not be easy, but we intend to find ways of keeping it that way.”

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