New plans for Blues festival

Bryan Yeoman performs at the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne
Bryan Yeoman performs at the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne
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Pendle’s biggest tourist attraction will have a new organising body next year after Colne Town Council agreed to take over its running.

Councillors have backed the idea to take on the responsibility for the planning and delivery of the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, which will be held in Colne over the August Bank Holiday weekend next year.

The Sharpees at the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne

The Sharpees at the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne

The festival, which will be in its 28th year in 2017, is the highlight of Colne’s musical calendar each year and brings thousands of people to Pendle as visitors flock to see the world’s biggest and best Blues stars. Previously, it has been organised by Pendle Council and latterly Pendle Leisure Trust.

Colne Town Council has admitted that some changes will be made to the festival, with ideas for a different Monday offering.

The decision to take over the Blues Festival was confirmed at the November meeting of Colne Town Council and a dedicated working group has been established to oversee its delivery.

Coun. Joe Cooney, who is chairman of the working group, said the council has studied the numbers carefully over recent months and believes it has the necessary budget to implement a successful and sustainable festival without resorting to raising the town’s precept to cover the cost.

He said: “The festival will run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On the Monday, there will be a difference and we have a few ideas up our sleeve.

“We feel that with the income that the event generates and with the contribution from the town council budget we can make it sustainable.

“Next year, it may well not break even, but we will take that on the chin. We have a four year plan and believe that in years two, three and four, it will break even and wash its face.”

He added: “I’m delighted to be working with my fellow councillors in this group responsible for the delivery of our Blues Festival.

“Over the last few years, its future has been in doubt, but with town council’s decision to take it over, we can now attempt to secure its long term future.

“We are grateful to Pendle Leisure Trust, in particular to Alison Goode, for all the excellent work over a number of years which has built the festival into the wonderful event we all know and love.

“The town council intends to continue to build on these foundations, and while we may make some changes in 2017, at its heart, the festival will stay true to the core values of the Blues.”

More information and details on the 2017 festival will be published in the coming weeks on Colne Town Council’s website.