Newport festivals spared council axe

South Wales Argus: FUN GOES ON: Justin Cliff, Georgina Harris and Antonio Rimola, of the Tin Shed Theatre Company, getting ready for their performance at the Comedy Port Festival last year FUN GOES ON: Justin Cliff, Georgina Harris and Antonio Rimola, of the Tin Shed Theatre Company, getting ready for their performance at the Comedy Port Festival last year

IN a bleak period of cuts across Newport, the city received a boost after the council announced its much-loved festivals, including the Big Splash and Comedy Port, will definitely return in 2013.

It had been feared that many of the festivals could be axed, as the under-pressure city council fought to find around £8million in savings in its budget for 2013/2014.

But the council confirmed three big events will all be back this year, even though they will not receive a direct council subsidy as they did before.

A spokeswoman, said: “Newport City Council can confirm that the city’s major arts events – Big Splash, Comedy Port and Discover Dance – will go ahead in 2013.

“Although the savings the council has to make in the current financial climate mean there will no longer be a direct subsidy for the events that make up the Comedy Port and Discover Dance festivals, they will still take place. “ The council said the Big Splash celebration, which includes circus acts, live music and street theatre, will operate on a reduced budget, while the Discover Dance festival will still celebrate all genres of dance “but the more-expensive dance companies won’t be performing.”

The council spokeswoman said: “There is a strong desire to still provide Newport and the surrounding areas, as well as tourists, with great festivals for Newport to be proud of.”

Cllr Debbie Wilcox, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “The council is having to make unprecedented savings as we cope with the severe national austerity programme, but we are trying to protect as many services and jobs as possible.

“We have had to look very closely at the services we are not legally obliged to provide, including arts and culture, but we also recognise that these are important as they enhance the lives of our residents.

“Audiences will see very little difference, as a full programme of entertainment, including the festivals, will still take place, with the savings being made mainly as a result of management efficiencies and reduced marketing.”

The Riverfront and events team will strive to source other funding and business/ media sponsors for these now highly-regarded events.

The dates for the events areMay 31-June 2 for the Big Splash; October 7-12 for Comedy Port, and; November 11-16 for Discover Dance.

To keep up-to-date with listings and events announcements at The Riverfront, visit www.new port.gov.uk/theriverfront and sign up the emailing lists. Follow on Twitter @riverfrontarts or on Facebook or Pinterest at The Riverfront.

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