Plans to expand Colne’s Rhythm and Blues Festival

Buskers entertain on the streets of Colne during the Blues Festival.'Photo Ben Parsons
Buskers entertain on the streets of Colne during the Blues Festival.'Photo Ben Parsons

NEW proposals are to be presented to Pendle Council’s Colne and District Area Committee in a bid to expand Colne’s Rhythm and Blues Festival.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and Coun. Paul White, the borough’s portfolio holder for town centres, have been working together to ensure bigger crowds are drawn to the August Bank Holiday event. The pair have also been discussing how local businesses will most benefit from the festival.

Following various meetings with pub landlords, the borough’s town centre team and Pendle Leisure Trust, it became clear to Mr Stephenson and Coun. White that there was a growing concern that the event was too focused on the bottom end of Colne.

If approved, the pair’s plans would see the funfair relocated back to the Red Lion Street car park, an outdoor stage in the town centre during the afternoon, an outdoor market, street entertainers, and the creation of an official “festival fringe” in the pubs at the top of the town.

Mr Stephenson said: “The feeling was that the Blues used to be a festival that the whole town turned out to enjoy, but that wasn’t happening any more.

“Businesses towards the top of the town told us what they thought would improve the festival not only for them, but for festival goers and I hope the plan that has been put together will make this event better for both businesses and residents.”

And Coun. White, the borough’s executive member for economic development, added: “I’ve been a Blues regular for quite a few years, and I’ve seen the change.

“This festival is incredibly important for the economy of Colne, with some businesses relying on it to keep them going for the rest of the year.

“We’ve put together something which I hope will boost the festival and bring more people into the town over the weekend.”