BREAKING: Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World left homeless after venue pulls plug

THE future of Rhythms of the World is in doubt after its usual venue, Hitchin Priory, said next year’s festival can no longer be held there, it was announced this morning (Friday).

Rhythms of the World, which attracts thousands of festival goers each year, was due to hold the 2013 festival in the grounds on the weekend of July 13 and 14.

But both have agreed that this will no longer be the case.

A statement from the festival organisers said: “Chartridge Conference Company, who own Hitchin Priory, has decided that they are no longer able to hold festivals in the grounds for business reasons. The extremely wet weather before and during the 2012 festival played a key part in their decision.”

Volunteer and chairman of the charity, Gill Hannington, added: “We are enormously grateful to the Chartridge Conference Company and Thierry and his team at Hitchin Priory for supporting us through five highly successful festivals in this beautiful location. By donating the grounds free of charge, we have been able to continue offering a top quality festival at a rock bottom price in order to ensure it remains open to everyone.

“As a registered charity led by volunteers, a gift in kind of this nature has also enabled us to direct funds towards other aspects of the festival, such as health and safety, security and additional facilities which are so important to the safe and successful running of a festival.

“We are obviously disappointed by the news, but the organising Committee will be meeting over the coming weeks to discuss options for the festival in the future.”

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Barry Wilson, from Chartridge Conference Company, said: “We are very proud to have supported Rhythms of the World for so many years. Providing the venue for such an amazing community festival has been a huge undertaking for our team at Hitchin Priory, but we are glad we were able to play such a significant role in the charity’s development.

“However, we have taken the difficult business decision not to hold any festivals at Hitchin Priory for the foreseeable future.”

• For more on this story, see Thursday’s Comet.