NEWS: Festival funding submerged

Birmingham Carnival, courtesy of Birmingham City Council

As public sector spending cuts disseminate from Whitehall, the Birmingham Cultural Partnership (BCP) has announced the withdrawal of it’s recently instigated Emerging Festival Fund.

In an email to the city’s arts communities and strategic partners, BCP manager Simon Bennett stated that in light of the government’s ongoing spending review, ‘projects that had not formally committed their total allocated funding were vulnerable’ and ‘this unfortunately was the case with the Festivals programme.’ Bennett also stated the scheme’s closure was part of a strategy to ‘minimise the need to break existing contracts’ and that ‘none of these decisions was easy or lightly made.’ The Birmingham Cultural Partnership manages a portfolio of projects that support and the development of the city’s cultural sector.

Launched earlier this year, the Emerging Festivals Fund was to be a series of grants from between £500 and £4999, used for ‘supporting current festivals and events’ and ‘developing or attracting new and niche events.’ Music events such as Gigbeth, Supersonic, Moseley Folk, Birmingham Jazz International and Fierce Festival would all have been eligible to apply.

Inviting prospective applicants through his website on January 10th, Minister for Leisure & Tourism Martin Mullaney declared the fund was ‘part of a programme’ that reflected Birmingham City Council’s ‘ambition to have a year round calendar of festivals.’ Whilst centre led public sector cuts are forcing political u-turns across the country, how BCC intend to now ‘grow and support Birmingham’s festivals’ has not been publicly clarified.