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Future of Stamford's Riverside Festival hanging in the balance

By kay_kelly  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

Looking out at the crowd from The Riverside Festival stage. Photo: The Riverside Association of Music & Arts.

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The future of Stamford's Riverside Festival is hanging in the balance as the music event has had to be cancelled for the third year running.

The hugely-popular open-air music festival, organised by The Riverside Association of Music and Arts, was last held on the Meadows in July 2010.

A dispute with the town council meant the festival was not staged in 2011.

And last year, the not-for-profit event, was cancelled at the last minute after the Meadows venue flooded.

Organisers had planned to bring back the festival this year - but announced in December that, because they are still waiting for insurers to pay out for last year, the 2013 event will also have to be cancelled.

Association director Jenny Collins told stamfordpeople: "The festival is so big and takes a long time to plan that, regretfully, we informed the town council before Christmas that we were not going to hold the event in 2013.

"We are not saying 'never again', but we have to face the realities of the situation.

"The Meadows has flooded several times since we had to cancel last year which is likely to have an impact on getting insurance again.

"The last minute cancellation may also mean suppliers could want more money up front.

"Also not holding the festival for several years may pose problems raising funds, there is also likely to be escalating costs, and we don't have reserves to call on.

"It is fair to say that the future of the festival - certainly in its traditional format - is hanging in the balance."

Jenny said the association investigated other possible locations to stage the festival in 2011, but they were not viable alternatives.

"It may be farm land is an option," she said, "but we are yet to look into that."

The association is holding its AGM on March 3rd when it is hoped the insurance claims will be decided.

Jenny said the festival organisers may consider staging smaller events in the town.

"We took part in the Bandstand Marathon last September, at the bandstand on the Rec, which proved very popular and had excellent feedback.

"It may be that we build on this and hold smaller events, depending on what people want.

"But, until the claims are resolved, we are stuck in limbo."

Jenny would be keen to hear from anyone who has any ideas - both about the Riverside Festival and other potential events - as well as volunteer helpers.

She can be contacted on 07788 534290 or by emailing jennycollins10@aol.com.

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