Colne Labour call on town council to reverse controversial decision to cancel Blues Festival

Colne Labour group have said they are "deeply disappointed" to hear that Colne Town Council have decided to cancel the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival with immediate effect.

The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival has been permanently cancelled
The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival has been permanently cancelled

The decision has been met with anger and disappointment from residents and businesses. Concerns have also been raised about the lack of consultation with either Colne residents or the businesses across Colne that will be affected. A call to delay the decision was also denied during the meeting.

Wayne Blackburn, chairman of Colne Labour Branches, said: “I’m shocked that Colne Town Council have made this decision and that the Liberal Democrat and Conservative members could not put their political differences aside to save the festival. It’s the cultural highlight of the year in Colne, benefitting the local economy and gives opportunities to our musicians and artists.

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"It seems short-sighted to not look at all options available - whether that means moving to a bi-annual timetable or other suggestions that have been made rather than this vastly diluted music and food one day event they are planning instead.

Wayne Blackburn

"Colne residents should be able to have their say on the event and ideas to make the event more successful should have been investigated.

"We call on Colne Town Council to review and reverse this decision as a matter of urgency, allow for residents, local businesses and all other stakeholders to be involved in the discussions on the future of the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, and ultimately do all they can to ensure the event can go forward successfully for years to come.”

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The festival, which was due to be held for its 31st time this year before being cancelled due to the ongoing Covid pandemic, has been a popular fixture of the August Bank Holiday weekend since 1990 and was attended by thousands of people each year.

Colne Town Council took over the running of the event from Pendle Leisure Trust in 2016 due to cost cutting measures forced upon local Councils by successive Conservative governments.