No Rhythms, but no reason to despair - here are 25 reasons Hitchin festival’s spirit will live on in 2016

Community artwork at the 2015 Rhythms of the World festival in Hitchin

Community artwork at the 2015 Rhythms of the World festival in Hitchin - Credit: Archant

Festival organisers who have been forced to pull the plug on their big event next year are accentuating the positive with plans for a silver anniversary celebration.

As the Comet exclusively revealed last week, the two-day Rhythms of the World festival held in the ground of Hitchin Priory has failed to hit budget for the past two years.

With bills from June’s event still outstanding, charity trustees responsible for staging the popular community celebration reluctantly took the decision to shelve the 2016 event.

They met on Sunday to thrash out a plan for the future, and to decide how to mark next year’s 25th anniversary of Rhythms.

The plan now is to deliver a series of 25 events which will both keep the festival’s spirit alive and kicking and bring in the cash needed to clear outstanding debts.

A spokesman said: “The plan is to take Rhythms back to its roots.

“Events will be community-focused, value for money, family-friendly, fun and safe and the 25 events will provide something for everyone.”

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The launch event will be a beer festival and music event in April at the town’s Half Moon pub.

The spokesman added: “Although there will be no large festival in 2016, trustees hope to deliver a more traditional version of the festival in the future.”

Chair of trustees Amy Hopkins reported a surge of support since last week’s Comet story.

She said: “We’ve received many messages of support, as well as constructive criticism and suggestions for how we could move forward.

“We are aware that not everyone knows that RotW is a charity, or that the Rhythms team of volunteers delivers community-focused educational outreach activities and events all year around.

“Next year will see a programme of events that will help us to showcase the diversity of the arts in Hitchin, while at the same time staying true to the vision of the charity to unite diverse communities through music and the arts.

“We will announce details of the programme early next year, and calling for volunteers to help present an amazing year of events.

“On behalf of the trustees I would like to thank oursuppliers, sponsors and volunteers for their continued support.

“We would also like to thank the 17,000 people who came to the event in 2015.

“It’s clear that you love the festival as much as we do, and we hope you will join us at our ‘back to our roots’ events.

“A huge amount of love, sweat and tears goes into Rhythms and we hugely appreciate the support we receive.”

Read about the decision not to hold a full-scale festival, and how you can support the charity, here