The trustees and management team of the Presteigne Festival are shocked to hear of Powys County Council’s plan to cut Community Grant Funding by 75%. Though not policy yet, we understand that a decision on the proposal will be made at a full Council meeting on 21 February.

The Presteigne Festival, which currently receives an annual Powys Community Grant of £9,000, has been an integral part of the Powys cultural landscape for over 30 years. Recognised internationally for its impressive programme content, it attracts a large audience each year with attendees not only from the local area but also across the UK and beyond. Recordings made at the Presteigne Festival have been a regular feature on BBC Radio 3 for many years. To quote Powys County Council’s very own Arts Strategy document ‘From village shows and craft fairs, to festivals of regional, national and international reputation – Gregynog Festival, Presteigne Festival, Brecon Jazz, Hay Festival – these events play an important role in the calendar of local life and in raising the profile of Powys in the national consciousness, helping to put it on the map’.

In a 2010 survey undertaken on Powys County Council’s behalf, the direct economic impact of the six-day Presteigne Festival was estimated to be £561,563 – generating approximately £4 in Powys for every £1 spent on Festival tickets. In addition 94% attenders rated the quality of the Festival as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and 96% said they would visit both Powys and the Festival again in the future – some 70% of those questioned were visitors from outside the county.

The Presteigne Festival has also developed its outreach programme over the last four years, having already invested in excess of £41,000 working with over 300 local children and teachers to produce highly successful education projects in 2010 and 2012. Specialist artists and staff have also worked with older people in homes, day centres and hospitals, and plan to do so again this spring.

The Presteigne Festival is regarded as one the most important festivals in Wales, promoting an annual celebration of music and the arts and having commissioned and premiered some 175 pieces of new music over the past 30 years. However, if the Powys Community Grant budget cut is implemented, the Presteigne Festival, along with several other important arts organisations, including the Gregynog, Hay and Machynlleth festivals, will be seriously affected.

Composer and broadcaster Michael Berkeley CBE, President of the Presteigne Festival commented: ‘It is hard to overestimate the importance of the Presteigne Festival in the life of our community. Not only does it bring much needed cultural nourishment to an area cut off from the mainstream, but it has also become a focal point for visitors, tourists and locals alike. It is manifestly a success story for the area and to jeopardise its funding would be tragic in the extreme’.

We hope that our supporters will express their concern about the planned cuts by contacting all or any of the following:
Cllr David Jones, leader Powys County Council ([email protected])
Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, Portfolio holder for Arts and Culture ([email protected])
Cllr Garry Banks, Member for Presteigne and Norton ([email protected])

The postal address is: Powys County Council, County Hall, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, LD1 5LG


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