Relief as the show will go on for Colne's Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival

Colne's iconic Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival could still go ahead next year after an agreement was reached with a third party organiser.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 11:13 am
A previous festival

Organisers Colne Town Council agreed last night that it should enter into an agreement with Peter Barton to provide artists for the main stages for a revamped festival next year.

The popular festival, which attracts thousands of music lovers to Colne every year, had looked under threat after the town council in September voted to scrap it in its current form.However, the latest developments bring a glimmer of hope to residents and local businesses upset at the original decision.

Peter Barton is a well-known musician and organiser of festivals in the UK as well as running the Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre.

The council also agreed that the recently formed Colne Blues Society take over the running of the Festival Fringe Programme for 2022. The Liberal Democrats are hopeful that it will be possible, through negotiations, for the Colne Blues Society to take over the running of the festival from 2023.

Mary Thomas, chairman of Colne Town Council said: "I sincerely hope that this proposal will produce a Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival next year which will be an absolute cracker.

"I am also hopeful that Colne Blues Society will continue their work in delivering a model for a sustainable Blues Festival which will see the future of the festival secured for the foreseeable future. All we need now is a sunny Bank Holiday!”

The rising cost of the festival has been a concern for the town council for some time with it taking on more responsibilities, such as Alkincoates Park in the last few years. This means that increasingly the council does not have the capacity to give the Blues Festival the time and attention it requires.

Mary added: “This arrangement with Peter Barton is the one with the least financial risk to the council. I know that many people were under the impression that the festival had been cancelled. This was never the case, but it had always been our intention for the festival to become sustainable in the long term.”

Under any proposal the town council will still be responsible for much of the infrastructure of the Blues Festival, such as road closures, traffic management, security and other matters.