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Just in: Festival is shaken by proposed 75% funding cut

One of the few bright arts sparks in Wales may be dimmed by a local council proposal to remove three-quarters of its funding. Powys County Council gives all of £9,000 to the bucolic Presteigne Festival, which twins a composer in residence with such interesting talent as Anne Queffélec, Alice Neary, Gretel Dowdeswell, Sarah Jane Bradley, Anthony Marwood, Chenyin Li and the Sorrel String Quartet.

But Powys also supports a Community and Voluntary Sector fund, which pays for Presteigne’s outreach work. Powys wants to cut this fund back by 75% in 2013/14 to £100,000, a pot for which all social organisations would compete. That would disable the festival’s most valuable work – the way it extends music far out into the community.

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  1. Kenneth Griffin says:

    Norman, if I may clarify, Presteigne Festival receives this Grant of £9,000 from Powys County Council’s Community Grant Fund. This grant service is focused on the Community and Voluntary Sector and “each organisation will be treated fairly, equally and in an open manner that recognises the important role they are delivering.” The Council proposes to cut this Fund by 75% in 2013/14 to £100,000. If this budget proposal is approved, then Presteigne Festival would be applying for a 2013/14 Grant from this much reduced Fund, along with all the other organisations in Powys’s Community and Voluntary Sector, and there is no way of foretelling what amount, if any, they might be granted.

  2. That’s also a slightly misleading Welsh funding cuts statement. The 75% ‘slash’ is int he contribution made by Powys CC. It is NOT a 75% reduction in funding received by the Festival more generally, which is the immediate implication.
    Yes, it’s a bit mean, and frankly a rounding error in the County Council’s accounts, so why bother making the cut?; but I don’t find the headline overly helpful.

  3. I know this is a US vs Europe perspective, but arts organizations would do well to diversify their income sources. It seems to me that a lot of European arts orgs are delivered a surprise government funding cut and find themselves with no other resources because they have never developed a donor base, never asked for other types of support, and never thought of ticket sales as a priority. Arts orgs in the US look at European government support with great envy, but the flip side is that European orgs can become cul-de-sacs of government funding, subject to the whims of bureaucrats.

    • Philip Freeman says:

      Tomas2 hasn’t quite understood the issues at stake, or the facts. Many organisations do diversify their funding streams, but all that has done is to give protection to the funders, whose support is then further reduced or withdrawn. Bureaucats is also rather inexact. The decisions here are being made here are by elected councillors – but are carrying out actions that were never proposed at election time. And I want to remind him that it is the perspective of a citizen that matters here. I want my taxes to be spent in making the world a better place. I know investing in the arts brings long term benefits. Commercial sponsorship only supports ideas once they’re successful. We need to encourage a more experimental, test-bed approach.
      And, of course, relying on the whims of donors is no better than relying on the whims of bureaucrats.

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