Festival’s £30k plea

Members of the Belarus dance party
Members of the Belarus dance party

ORGANISERS of a world-renowned folk festival say they need to raise up to £30,000 to ensure this year’s spectacle is a success.

Billingham International Folklore Festival has launched the public appeal for donations after being hit by funding cuts last year.

The festival gets most of its funding from Stockton Borough Council. But the event last year saw its total budget slashed by more than 20 per cent.

Festival director Joe Maloney said: “This created a huge problem for our festival as we were already operating on an extremely tight budget.

“We were saved by the generosity of the Arts Council. But unless we can find additional funding elsewhere, and we are trying every possible available avenue, we will have to make major cuts in our festival, primarily in the number of international groups appearing this year.”

As well as a chance to experience authentic dance and music from all over the world, the annual festival has also become a cultural exchange.

This year’s event is scheduled to take place from August 11 to 18.

Groups that have been invited to take part come from countries including Chile, Russia, Colombia and Indonesia.

New this year is a group from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe who will display break dance combined with traditional choreography.

Organisers also hope to feature two UK contemporary dance companies inspired by African roots.

Mr Maloney added: “We need to raise an additional £25,000 to £30,000 to be able to sustain the festival at the high artistic level.

“We would like to appeal to all our audience members and volunteers, who supported us throughout the years, to donate any amount of money you can spare, no matter how small.”

For details on how to support the appeal, visit www.billinghamfestival.co.uk.

People can send donations to Billingham International Folklore Festival, Stockton Business Centre, 70 Brunswick Street, Stockton, TS18 1DW.