An appeal has been launched to raise funds for the Pendle School's Festival, an annual showcase of children from local schools, with organisers hoping to raise the necessary cash to put on "a veritable feast of talent".
Having lost its council funding in 2013, the festival - in which 26 local school took part last year - needs to raise £9,000 to hire the Muni in Colne and go ahead with the show in June in what Tristesse 'Tess' James has called an "ongoing fight to find funding."
Involving hundreds of pupils from across East Lancashire, the festival started in 1960 and sees children get together to present a week-long program of art, incorporating music, dance, painting, sculpture, drama, and more, relying on a committee of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure its success.
"The committee feel strongly that the children of Pendle thrive through opportunities to showcase their artistic talents and are heavy-hearted at the potential threat of cancellation," said Tess. "The festival is a veritable feast of talent presented by children as young as five, many of whom get to experience their first ever footsteps into a theatrical space by participating in the event.
"One of the highlights of the festival is the annual ‘massed choir’ where children from multiple schools merge together to sing, allowing them to form friendships outside their usual peer groups and giving them a chance to learn new skills in working with a choir and conductor," Tess added.
With this year's event promising to be one of the brightest yet, school involvement and investment has been "unfaltering," yet despite this, funds are tight enough to cast a shadow of doubt over the event unless sponsorship is secured as a matter of urgency, prompting organisers to appeal to individuals, businesses, or local connections for help.
"Currently, the festival is under threat because of lack of volunteers to complete all the tasks necessary to run such a huge event and because options for raising the money are few," said Tess, explaining that funds were needed to cover essentials such as hiring the hall, transport for the children to rehearse, ticket printing, storage, programs, and refreshments for the children.
With fundraising totals needing to be hit as soon as possible, donations will continue to be accepted throughout the year in order to ensure next year's event can go ahead as well, with Tess adding: "Every child deserves an opportunity to shine, and arts are accessible to all ages and abilities.
"The children need your help."