Major music festival cancelled

Brinkburn Music Festival - Picnic in grounds.
Brinkburn Music Festival - Picnic in grounds.

Organisers of one of the North East’s best loved classical music events have announced that it will be taking a break this year due to lack of funding.

This July would have marked the 22nd Brinkburn Music Festival, held annually at Brinkburn Priory, near Longframlington.

But with funding failing to reach the target needed for the festival to operate this year to its usual standard, the decision has been made to take a year out.

Organisers hope that the festival, which has a proud history of bringing world-class music to this corner of Northumberland, will be able to return in the future in a better position to attract the level of funding it needs to continue.

A statement on their website reads: ‘Funding has been a challenge these last few years and we feel we need to step back, catch our breath and consider our way forward.

‘I’m sure you can understand that this has been a very difficult decision to make. The Board has explored various different options, but were keen to ensure that if we were to do anything, that it would be worthy of the name of the Brinkburn Music Festival.

‘As ever, we are hugely thankful for your financial support of Brinkburn Music. The charity will continue to exist, with donations used to fund the ongoing costs involved with seeking a firm financial base for future years.’

Zoe Bottrell, general manager of Brinkburn Music, said: “It is with deep regret that we announce the cancellation of the 2015 Brinkburn Music Festival.

“Despite the best efforts of the Board, it has not been possible to secure sufficient funding to proceed this year.

“The Board are determined to find a way to keep the tradition alive and will take time now to assess the future direction of the festival.

“It is very difficult for a 22- year-old festival to keep reinventing itself for funding and I have sympathy with all our funders that they have less and less resources to be able to allocate to projects.”

She added: “However, we are enormously grateful to a number of our individual supporters who have said that they wish to continue supporting the festival’s development so this will help support the charity’s future.”

The organisers are working with musical partners to finalise details of a fund-raising concert, to take place at Sage Gateshead on what would have been the festival weekend, July 4 and 5.

The seating capacity at Brinkburn Priory means that it cannot generate enough income to support the extensive programme of work from ticket sales alone.

Brinkburn Music receives a limited amount of money from public grants, but it relies heavily on funding from locally-based trusts and foundations and private individuals.

The generous support of the growing number of private donors enables Brinkburn Music to bring outstanding music to the North East year after year.

The festival also runs an education programme to encourage young people.

For those still wishing to listen to music in Brinkburn Priory, English Heritage will continue to host performances by local musicians there during the summer months.