Use it or lose, festival organisers say

The Advertiser Series: MUSIC FESTIVAL: Members of the band 'The Sponge Divers' Billy White and Jack Cummings, with volunteers Darren McMahon,  and Gareth Stones on the roof of Stanley Bowls Centre to promote an up and coming music festival in the town. Picture: TOM BANK MUSIC FESTIVAL: Members of the band 'The Sponge Divers' Billy White and Jack Cummings, with volunteers Darren McMahon, and Gareth Stones on the roof of Stanley Bowls Centre to promote an up and coming music festival in the town. Picture: TOM BANK

ORGANISERS of a music festival in north Durham are urging people to attend to safeguard its future.

Stanley Music Festival returns to Oakies Park for the third time on Sunday, August 24, offering a host of music and family entertainment.

The event was born out of the Stanley Blues Festival, which ended in 2007 after 15 years because of problems with funding.

But at its height it attracted crowds of 12,000 to the King’s Head Field, where the new North Durham Academy now stands.

More than 3,500 people attended the first Stanley Music Festival in 2012, but last year numbers dwindled to 1,800.

The event costs £27,000 to put on and funding has been secured for this year’s event with £9,000 from Stanley Area Action Partnership and £15,000 from Stanley Town Council.

The rest of the money comes from Stanley Events’ reserves so a big turnout is needed to make it viable in future as the backing of public money cannot be guaranteed.

Carl Marshall, of Stanley Events, which organises the event, said: “We’ve previously had two fantastic events, but this is the final year of Stanley Town Council’s three year commitment to a music festival.

“Stanley’s already lost one great annual music event in the Blues Festival, so it’s really over to the people local people to show support by attending and helping secure an event for 2015.”

This year’s line-up includes eighties pop star Owen Paul, the Scottish singer best known for his hit single My Favourite Waste of Time, Letz Zep, one of the world’s premier Led Zeppelin tributes, an imitation Arctic Monkeys act, North-East pop punksters The MeMe’s and local three-piece The Sponge Divers.

Derek Shingleton, clerk of Stanley Town Council said: “The council has been pleased to provide financial support for the annual music festival in recent years, and has already paid a grant of £15,000 for this year's event.

“However, the situation is reviewed on a yearly basis, partly because of budget pressures, but also because we have to assess the extent to which any grant provides value for the wider community of Stanley.

“Clearly, the more people who attend the Festival the easier it might be to justify any financial contribution."

This year also sees the festival expanding to Saturday August 23, an under 19s Young Battle of the Bands Event with the winning act opening Stanley Music Festival on the Sunday.

Early bird tickets are now on sale at only £3 with on the day entry costing £5. Tickets can be bought online or in person from various local businesses details of which can be found at www.stanleyevents.co.uk.

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