Organisers behind Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World reveal 2016 festival won’t be full-scale after budget shortfall over last two years

Hitchin's Rhythms of the World 2016 festival will not be full-scale despite best-ever pre-event sale

Hitchin's Rhythms of the World 2016 festival will not be full-scale despite best-ever pre-event sales for the 2015 event, pictured from the air by Daniel Scotcher. - Credit: Archant

Organisers behind Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World festival have confirmed that a full-scale event won’t be held next year as they try to plan a ‘sustainable’ future for the popular community celebration.

Although June’s two-day celebration in the grounds of Hitchin Priory was hailed as a huge success, they admit the sums didn’t add up.

Despite best-ever pre-event sales and promotion, ticket sales to ‘pay-on-the-day’ festival-goers were lower than expected – leaving a shortfall against budget.

Although the festival team stress it wasn’t a massive loss, it was still significant enough for the charity to seek an agreement with suppliers, working over the last four months to pay off what is owed.

After reviewing the prospects, trustees say that ‘with regret’ it will not be possible to hold a ‘traditional’ festival in 2016, both because of the current financial situation and because attendances in both 2014 and this summer were below break-even levels.

The charity insists it is solvent and continues to function, but doesn’t have the cash reserves to commit to a big event and say the financial risk is too high.

Now trustees plan to explore options for the future direction of the charity, and the festival too.

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Chair of trustees Amy Hopkins said: “Despite some very prudent budgeting, we have not generated the income needed to meet the costs of the festival.

“We have obtained free expert financial advice and, although we have reached an agreement with our suppliers, our ultimate aim is to pay them in full – when possible – in recognition of the many years of support the charity has received.

“The 2015 festival was an amazing spectacle and we don’t want to detract from that. We would like to thank everyone who got involved – as an attender, volunteer, performer, sponsor, advertiser or trader. We would also like to thank Hitchin Priory for hosting the festival.

“2016 is our 25th anniversary and we would like to mark the occasion in some way.

“All of your opinions matter to us and the more feedback we get, the better informed we will be, so please email trustees@rotw.org.uk with how you’d like to see RotW move on.”

If you would like to support the festival in the short term visit www.virginmoneygiving.com and enter ‘Rhythms of the World’ in the ‘Find a Charity’ box.

Donations can also be made via www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/rotw.

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