Fears as Malvern's Elgar Festival faces funding cuts - The Malvern Observer

Fears as Malvern's Elgar Festival faces funding cuts

Malvern Editorial 19th Apr, 2024   0

A FESTIVAL celebrating the life and music of legendary Worcestershire composer Sir Edward Elgar has launched a desperate plea for help to ensure its long-term future amid a cut in funding.

The Elgar Festival, which features performances from some of the world’s greatest musicians as well as exhibits and lectures, has been hit with a 40 per cent cut in its funding from the Arts Council England compared to last year.

Arts Council England said it was supporting the upcoming Elgar Festival, which will run between Monday, May 27 and Sunday, June 2, with £29,999 in funding.

Nonetheless, festival bosses say the cuts were having a ‘profound effect’ on the delivery of arts projects and have set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to ensure this year’s festival is a success as well as to secure its long-term future.

Kenneth Woods, Artistic Director of The Elgar Festival said: “Arts Council England has been a tremendous force for good in British cultural life for generations.

“It is operating under really difficult funding restraints which have built up over more than a decade of standstill revenues.

“But they have also made several strategic decisions to shift investment away from traditional art forms into community work, non-traditional art forms, urban renewal and social justice.

“Edward Elgar is Britain’s greatest and most famous composer – what would it say about our country if the festival that bears his name were to disappear?”

The Elgar Festival was established by decree of Worcester City Council in 2018 and is traditionally held on the weekend closest to Elgar’s birthday, June 2, 1857.

An Arts Council England spokesperson said it was committed to creative excellence and recognised the importance of composer Edward Elgar and the Elgar Festival.

The spokesperson added: “We have a longstanding relationship with the festival, and have awarded them £143,000 worth of public money since 2019, via our National Lottery project funding.

“Competition for this particular fund is very high and funding does not roll over from one project to another, nor is it guaranteed year after year.

“To that end, it is a testament to the strength of Elgar Festival’s offering that we have been able to invest in them as often as we have.”

To help ensure the future of the Elgar Festival, visit www.gofundme.com/f/elgar-festival-2024 to donate.

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