THE organisers of this year’s Eurocultured festival are remaining positive despite recent cuts to their funding.
Ben Reed, from Spearfish, told Confidential that confidence in the arts sector has completely gone, making 2011 an ‘interesting and testing year’ for the company.
The firm is still holding its annual event – which features live music, DJs and street art - on Sunday 29 and Monday 30 May with a more family-orientated festival planned for the end of September in Castlefield.
“There have been times when I’ve questioned why I bother. If I’d known support from the city council was going to be withdrawn, I might have tried to create a new festival on the continent."
The festival first took place in 2003 as a free event with financial backers including Easyjet. Reed said they initially struggled to sell tickets for subsequent events with punters arguing it was ‘free last time’.
Over the years, the festival has attracted varying levels of support, with Spearfish organising similar festivals in Dublin, Belfast and Bratislava. This year, a free two-day festival is being held in Turku, Finland, the weekend before the Manchester event.
Support for the festival has been aided by sizable grants from the EU and several embassies, which helped Spearfish secure Israeli music act Balkan Beat Box to headline the main stage on Sunday.
Reed said it has been a ‘constant battle’ to garner the support and funds needed. He said he was feeling positive about the Castlefield event, however, which has been pencilled in for September 24 and 25.
“There have been times when I’ve questioned why I bother,” he said. “If I’d known support from the city council was going to be withdrawn, I might have tried to create a new festival on the continent, where there’s more financial support.”
The inaugural Eurocultured Castlefield will showcase music, dance and put on cultural workshops as well as a food court in partnership with Manchester Markets. The aim is to make the day as free and accessible as possible with paid entry for evening concerts.
Initial plans are already underway to expand the event in 2012, with a wider focus on world culture, with the hope of featuring performers from Brazil, India and China.
Tickets for the May event cost £10 for both days, with under-16s being free. Details of where to buy tickets and more event information can be found at www.eurocultured.com.
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