Thanks and the future is bright

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I am writing to thank all of those people who supported our music festival this year.

Our small committee was supported by a large number of volunteers who helped in so many ways too numerous to mention.

It was pleasing to see many new volunteers join us this year and I hope their experiences with us will encourage them to return next year.

We are certainly encouraged by offers of future support particularly as these potential helpers want to address some of our new directions namely, providing as we did this year, opportunities for young local talented groups and individuals to perform on our stage, new opportunities for local artists to perform throughout the year at more intimate venues and to engage with young people in terms of developing skills in traditional dance and music.

Feedback from both our community and our international guests suggests that artistically the festival was a success. The international groups really enjoyed themselves and commented favourably on the International Club, how well they were looked after at the Duchess’s Community High School and, above all, the consistent warmth.

My thanks also go to the Northumberland Gazette for all of the excellent coverage that was given.

The remarks of Alan Castle in last week’s newspaper about funding certainly resonated with me.

Seeking major funding is not for the want of trying and we are grateful to the Sir James Knott Trust for their grant towards our children’s workshops, Northumberland County Council’s Community Chest grants for new sound equipment and new beds and to the Percy Family Trust who also helped us with the purchase of new beds.

We will continue to investigate the whole grant process but meanwhile our thanks go to the vast majority of the audience who uncomplainingly, repeatedly and even cheerfully threw their money into our buckets.

The sum raised was over £3,000 which not only makes donors real stakeholders in our festival but the sum itself is a major contributor to our income stream.

Finally, what about the future? The bills will come in the next two months so our objectives are, hopefully, to balance this year’s books and then set a management plan and budget for next year.

Artistic director Anne Walton is already besieged with groups wanting to come in 2015.

If we can count on our volunteers returning then, judging by the audience commitment on the final day about ‘going for the big 40’, the future is bright.

Alan Symmonds,

Chairman, Alnwick International Music Festival