An annual music festival which draws thousands of people to an East Lancashire town every year will return following a council U-turn.

The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival was scrapped earlier this year with Colne Town Council citing a ‘lack of resources’ as one of the reasons for its cancellation.

The festival, which has been running for more than 30 years and was one of Europe’s only contemporary blues festivals, won the UK Blues Festival of the Year award at its last airing in 2019, before the pandemic put a stop to the event in 2020 and this year.

In September the council said it had been torn in their decision but thought it best to create a summer music festival for the town instead.

On Tuesday night, Colne Town Council made a final decision about the future of the festival with a number of conditions which mean it could return in 2022.

At a meeting it was proposed that Colne Town Council should enter into an agreement with Peter Barton management company to provide artists for the Municipal Theatre, Hippodrome and Little Theatre.

The agreement is to be based on the town council receiving at tenth of the total ticket proceeds.

And Colne Blues Society will be invited to provide the Fringe Programme for the 2022 festival. Negotiations will continue with the society with a view to them programming the whole festival in 2023 onward, subject to Colne Blues Society becoming a fully constituted organisation.

Pendle Borough Council will be asked to offer support by covering the costs of any extra street cleansing.

Cllr Mary Thomas, Chairman of Colne Town Council said “The councillors are happy to have reached a final agreement on the future of this cherished festival.

“Colne deserves a festival which supports the local community and attracts visitors to the area each summer. As this proposal has been chosen, this means the council can help facilitate an event in the summer of 2022 which hopes to ‘tick all of the boxes’ and bring the town to life for all to enjoy.

“There will be some changes to the event organisation, which it is hoped will improve the festival’s financial security while continuing to bring a well-managed blues festival to Colne.

“We also hope to work alongside the Colne Blues Society on the fringe aspects of the festival, including the Roadhouse venues.”

Further planning is now underway, with news of ticket prices, venues and line ups expected to be announced in the forthcoming weeks.