THIS year’s Darwen Live festival got a big boost on Thursday when the borough’s full £15,000 grant to the two-day musical event was confirmed.
Leisure chief Damian Talbot told a meeting of the council’s executive board that the figure was set in stone despite recently announced Whitehall finance cuts.
While he could give no promises about the level of future support, he promised that Blackburn with Darwen Council was committed to the success of the 13-year-old festival which it saw as vital to the town and the borough’s cultural life.
The promise came as the organisers revealed that they are in final talks about signing a major Indie band to headline the event.
Coun Talbot was tackled on the issue by Marsh House ward councillor Tom Evans when the executive board held a meeting in Darwen town hall.
Coun Evans asked: “I recognise that the council are facing 20 per cent budget cuts and that things are difficult, but can you reassure me of continuing support for Darwen Live?”
Coun Talbot replied: “There are no plans to reduce the council’s contribution to the Darwen Live event during the next financial year although the full effect of government budget cuts are sill being worked out and therefore we may need to review this in future years.
“I appreciate how important it is for the borough and town council to work together in ensuring that events which are of value to both the community and the local economy continue to receive support.
“I went last year when it was raining heavily and it was still a fantastic event. We recognise it is an important event in the life of both the town and the borough. There were lots of people there and many of them using the Darwen’s pubs and cafes. It is important to the local economy and we will continue to support it. ”
Darwen Town Council has again promised up to £30,000 to underwrite the festival on May 26 and 27.
Organising committee chairman and town council deputy chairman Coun Trevor Maxfield said: “This is good news. It is the third year we have run Darwen Live since taking it over from the council.
“Last year’s cost £37,500.
“We will have an alternative stage in Knott Street as well as the main one in the town square. We are in the final negotiations to sign a major Indie act to headline the festival.”