The announcement to cancel an iconic music festival, which has been a mainstay for people and businesses in an East Lancashire town for the last three decades has caused outrage among residents.

People living in Colne are incensed with the council for making the decision to cancel the legendary Colne Rhythm and Blues Festival, without a proper public consultation.

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Taking to social media on Wednesday to express their indignation and ire at the decision, Darcey Dimple said: "The biggest event of the year not only for the economy of the town and local businesses but the much needed boost to morale, especially after the last 19 months, shame on you.

"Talk about kicking dogs whilst they’re down."

While Jeremy Taylor said: "This cannot be allowed. Thirty years the blues has been attracting 25,000+ every year to our town.

"I call on everybody to contact your local councillor in opposition.

"Transparency is key here. This was ushered in via the back door."

Colne's iconic Rhythm and Blues festival cancelled by council

So enraged are locals, that even a petition has been set up, which has garnered almost 2,500 signatures in less than 24 hours.

Organiser of the petition, Carl Allen, wrote: "For 30 years Colne has had its renowned Blues festival.

"Last night the town council cancelled the festival indefinitely in a behind closed doors meeting.

"This has caused outrage among the town's people and could cost local businesses huge losses in revenue and customers who they rely on over the Blues weekend.

"The festival brings in visitors, musicians and fans from all over the world to our beautiful little town.

"The atmosphere is always electric the music is fantastic and the people are so friendly.

"To cancel this festival as they have makes no sense and will hurt the town in possibly an unrepairable way."

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Samantha Wells said: "I think it is a disgrace the Blues festival has been cancelled.

"It has been going for 30 years and to just cancel it without any member of Colne being able to voice an opinion is disgusting."

The decision has also resulted in anger among the Conservative party members in Colne, with a spokesperson for the Pendle Conservatives posting on their social media page: "For 30 years, the iconic Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival has brought thousands of people into Colne.

"Sadly, the Liberal Democrats have decided to cancel this much loved festival without even talking to local people or businesses.

"At a time where local businesses and pubs are recovering from the pandemic and getting back on their feet, this is a body blow to the local economy."

The Pendle Conservative Party said that the Mayor of Pendle, Cllr Neil Butterworth, had fought for a public consultation to let local people have their say prior to the decision being made.

However, it is believed this did not come to fruition.

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The spokesperson added: "We're firmly committed to bringing this iconic festival back."

A spokesperson for Colne BID said on Tuesday: "Colne BID is a huge supporter of running events in our town.

"We are sad to learn that at tonight's Town Council meeting there is a proposal to cancel the Annual Blues Festival that takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend."

To sign the petition, visit:

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