Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival granted funding

Acoustic stage at Colne Blues Festival.'Photo Ben Parsons
Acoustic stage at Colne Blues Festival.'Photo Ben Parsons

FUNDING has been granted by councillors for this year’s Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival.

A total of £6,200 has been allocated to the annual Colne-based event from Pendle Council’s Colne and District Committee Capital Programme for2013/14.

An original request of £11,200 was thrown out, after the cost of £5,000 for street entertainment was deemed an “excessive amount”.

Last month, we revealed possible new plans that would see the August bank holiday event expanded.

The proposals were the brainwave of Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and the borough’s portfolio holder for town centres Coun. Paul White.

They included relocating the funfair back to the car park near the Red Lion, creating an official “festival fringe” in the pubs at the top of town, and having an outdoor stage in the town centre during the afternoon, an outdoor market, and street entertainers,

Following various meetings with pub landlords, the borough’s town centre team and Pendle Leisure Trust, it was decided that previous festivals had been too focused on the bottom end of Colne.

Talking at the latest Colne and District Committee meeting, Coun. White said: “I’ve been going to the festival for the past eight years, and I have noticed that crowds have been dwindling.

“It is important we make it the best it can be.”

While most councillors at the meeting praised the plans to improve the festival and attract more people to the event, there were concerns over the idea of moving the funfair to the car park near the Red Lion.

Coun. Ann Kerrigan said: “It is all about the residents, and the reason it got stopped in the past is because of noise and anti-social behaviour that people had to suffer.

“I don’t think it’s fair to put back on them the onus of having that.”

Coun. Dorothy Lord said: “Coun. Kerrigan and I were both Horsfield councillors the last time they had a fairground on that car park.

“We had endless problems and we promised residents that it would never happen again.”

And Coun. Tony Greaves added: “I share the concerns, having bore the scars, along with the other councillors, of having the fairground on the car park.”

Coun. Greaves also added that councillors must “absolutely insist” on the town centre stage closing at 5pm and also aired his concerns over festival-goers drinking in the street.

Negotiations will now be made between Coun. White and Coun. Lord over possible town centre places for the funfair.

If a reasonable decision cannot be made then it will be brought before the committee again at a future meeting.