Proof that Knaresborough’s hugely popular feva festival faces financial challenges in the future has come with news that an important grant application has been turned down.
Organisers say they hadn't been hopeful in the current economic climate of being successful in their bid for £3,000 from Harrogate Borough Council and that the festival itself has enjoyed another fantastic year.
But the authorities rejection is still a blow for the hard-working volunteers and this successful annual arts event run entirely by volunteers.
Sue Holden, feva secretary said: “It is disappointing but not unexpected. The souncil approves grants based on a points system, which we usually meet.
“What has gone against us for the 2017 and 2018 festivals is the frequency with which the Council has provided grants in the past.
“We only expect to receive a grant every third year.
“The figure of £3,000 is very important to feva, as it funds the street entertainment, a major attraction during the ten days of the festival.”
It's worth pointing out at this point that this year Harrogate Borough Council has given out £30,000 in total in Small Grants Funding to community groups across the district.
The groups that have benefited are:
£3,000: Asenby Institute, Boroughbridge
£2,907: Charity of William Hardcastle, Pateley Bridge
£1,705: Friends of Follifoot Wildlife Recreation & Play
£3,000: Friends of St Cuthbert’s School, Pateley Bridge
£2,000: Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre
£2,750: High Batts Nature Reserve, Ripon
£1,675: Hookstone and Stonefall Action Group, Harrogate
£3,000: Pannal Sports Junior Football Club, Harrogate
£2,000: Scotton Scorchers Junior Football Club, Knaresborough
£1,500: Sharrow Village Hall and Sports Ground
£1,915: Rossett Local Nature Reserve Group, Harrogate
£2,000: The Rotary Club Harrogate Brigantes
£3,000: Wellspring Therapy & Training
Meanwhile, its failure to secure financial support from Harrogate Borough Council’s Small Grants Endorsement list has reinforced feva organisers’ belief that the future security of the festival is best placed by seeking business sponsorship rather than public money.
Grants from official bodies have started to dry up in recent years in an era of government austerity.
Sue Holden, said: “The festival costs £26,500 to put on, which is remarkably low given the number of events staged over the 10 days of feva.
“Ticket sales provide an income and we were fortunate this year with the overall popularity of events.
“But the only way that feva gets staged is through the kind assistance of local organisations, the hard work of the feva committee members, and the support of Friends of feva.
“Moving forward we hope to reduce reliance on grants as they are harder to come by, and to replace this by harnessing the support of Knaresborough businesses,” Sue said.
A largely free event which has run in one guise or the other since 1996, feva festival attracts large numbers of residents and visitors to the centre of town.
Organisers say they are very grateful for the support they currently receive.
“In the past, HBC provided £1,500 towards this, which was matched by Knaresborough Town Council.
“This year, the local council, which has been very supportive, stepped up to provide the full amount on a one-off basis after it was learned that there would be no Harrogate Borough Council grant.
“We were also sponsored financially by CNG and Knaresborough Lions. The Frazer Theatre, Henshaws, the Tourism Office, W Bowers and others support us in individual events and in running the festival.
And Tony Cerexhe, chairman of feva, said the festival had experiened challenges before and pledged that nothing would stop its continued success.
He said: “The festival is non-profit and any surplus one year is ploughed back into the event to guard against future losses.
“We lost money in 2016, for instance, but through the efforts of the all-volunteer organising committee, the support of the Town Council and our sponsors we hope to have done better this year.
“We do not have the final figures yet but one thing I would like to stress is that feva is a strong and highly popular festival which is one of the best in Yorkshire.
“We will find a way to continue to bring it to the people of Knaresborough even if we have to modify our programme to suit our potential income.”