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Fears over Cambridge Folk Festival future quashed by city council

Cambridge City Council has quashed fears over the future of country’s leading folk festival after this year’s event failed to sell its full ticket allocation.

The Cambridge Independent was contacted by readers concerned about its future, saying sales of both weekend and day tickets were down by around 3,000 – a financial hit that could cast a shadow over the future of the event.

Cambridge Folk Festival 2019. (15663629)
Cambridge Folk Festival 2019. (15663629)

One wrote said: “The debacle over the Cambridge Live organisation that led the city council to bring it back under their control means that once again any financial problems with the festival are likely to need council tax support.

“I don’t want Cambridge to lose this fantastic festival but I’m also aware that the tightness of council budgets, in particular in response to the withdrawal of central government grants, means there is little or no ‘extra’ cash for leisure activities, so my fear is that a decision may be made to end the festival.”

Cambridge Folk Festival 2019 - Lil' Jimmy Reed. (15663611)
Cambridge Folk Festival 2019 - Lil' Jimmy Reed. (15663611)

But Jane Wilson, culture and community manager at the council, while accepting that it was not a sell- out, insisted they are determined to ensure the event will continue to evolve and pay for itself for years to come.

Ms Wilson said: “Just over four months ago, the council took the Cambridge Folk Festival and other services previously run by Cambridge Live back in house and is focusing effort on reviewing each aspect of the various business components.

“As such, planning for the 2020 folk festival is already under way.The festival continues to operate – as it has done for many years – on a self-funding model within a broader service area. In other words, the festival continues to pay for itself.

Cambridge Folk Festival 2019 - Graham Nash, Headline Friday. (15663551)
Cambridge Folk Festival 2019 - Graham Nash, Headline Friday. (15663551)

“Not every event sells out completely and that was the case this year. The event is a jewel in the crown of folk music in this country, enjoyed each year by thousands of music lovers, and the council aims for it to evolve and delight for years to come.”

Cambridge Folk Festival 2019, Ben Caplan on stage one. Picture: Keith Heppell. (15663709)
Cambridge Folk Festival 2019, Ben Caplan on stage one. Picture: Keith Heppell. (15663709)

The festival, held in the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall, is now in its 54th year.

Read more

Cambridge Folk Festival 2019: Saturday review and interview with guest curator Nick Mulvey

Happily mugged on Cambridge Folk Festival opening day

Gallery: Friday at the 2019 Cambridge Folk Festival


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