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Axed town festival could still go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 06:02 25 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:12 24 February 2010

ORGANISERS of a cancelled town festival say it could go ahead this year after all - but only if funding is found almost immediately.

The 2003 Colchester Street Festival was called off last weekend after claims the borough council had refused to support the event.

ORGANISERS of a cancelled town festival say it could go ahead this year after all - but only if funding is found almost immediately.

The 2003 Colchester Street Festival was called off last weekend after claims the borough council had refused to support the event.

The festival, which was due to run in late summer, had been expected to bring thousands of visitors and residents to the town centre where they could enjoy two days of drama, street entertainment, music, theatre, living history and dance.

And project manager Dorian Kelly said yesterday that following a meeting of the association behind the festival there was a glimmer of hope that this year's jamboree could still go ahead.

“The meeting was good. We didn't come to any conclusion we could act on, but we have decided to wait and see what the Town Partnership manager has come up with.

“If there does seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel we can start approaching our major sponsors again.

“But in the meantime, if we cannot get significant acknowledgement from the council of the importance of what we are doing we will find it difficult to carry on.”

He added: “It will have to happen very fast indeed for it to go ahead this year. We cannot wait around.

“We are already behind schedule, but without any money in advance we cannot book anyone.

“We are rapidly losing venues and artists and all that makes the festival special.

“In an ideal world we would know what our funding was at least a year in advance, whereas now we don't even know what we've got this year.”

Chris Rawlinson, Colchester Town Partnership Manager, was not available for comment last night.

But a spokesman for the Partnership's board said: “We certainly haven't dismissed any idea of a festival. As a board we would like to see the proposals, and we haven't ruled anything out yet.”

Yesterday Ken Jones, Colchester Borough Council's portfolio holder with responsibility for arts and leisure, said it was up to the Town Partnership to fund the event.

The company had been provided with council funds to pay for events such as the festival, he said.

“This is a company matter. If the company can produce the finance that is fine.

“This is not a matter for me and the festival people have known that for at least 18 months.

“There have been allegations that we have made promises we are not keeping, and I want to know what promises they are and who made them so I can get to the bottom of it.”

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