Burnley Blues festival to return to 3 days over May bank holiday
BURNLEY’s iconic blues festival looks set to return to three days next year.
The famous event has been run as a one-day event since 2009 because of financial worries.
But council chiefs said a deal to restore it over three days was likely to be tied up this week.
Under the revival the festival is also set to move from its usual Easter weekend to the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (May 4-6).
Council bosses and pubs involved in the ‘fringe’ event have welcomed the return to a three-day festival.
Coun Charlie Briggs, leader of Burnley Council, said the extension of the event, which can attract up to 15,000 people, would be great for the town.
He said: “It would be a big boost to the Burnley economy and it would bring people into the town. It can only be positive.
“It isn’t confirmed yet but we are hoping to have something done by the end of the week.
“Hopefully it will be another great success following on from Towneley Live which we had earlier this year.
“The festival is always very well attended and it will bring money into the pubs and shops in the town centre.”
Kirk Worley, events manager at Burnley Mechanics, said that the organisers were in talks with a potential major sponsor, with a view to staging the event over three days next year.
He said it was always the intention to stage the festival over three days, if financial support could be secured externally.
A meeting between council chiefs, festival organisers and pubs is due to take place at the town hall on Thursday for further discussions about next year’s festival.
The Burnley Mechanics, which is the main host for the official blues festival, is already advertising next year’s festival, from May 4-6, on its website, with the line-up yet to be announced.
The website said: “The festival holds a unique position in the history of blues music and is quite remarkable in being one of the longest running events in the UK.
“Our outstanding reputation for presenting the very best of American, European and British blues artists have brought international attention and helped create the huge infrastructure, which now exists in the UK.”
The festival is also being advertised on the same dates in a number of blues magazines.
Emma Harrison, landlady at the Bridge Bier Huis, in Bank Parade, said: “The pubs always try and run a fringe event, sometimes from the Thursday to the Sunday.
“But it can only be a positive move to bring it all back to three days.
“The event gets a lot of support from the town and from the pubs and it is very well attended.
“I am undecided about the change of date at the moment, we may still do something over the Easter weekend as well.”
Phillip Nelson, landlord of The Talbot, in Church Street, said: “It is very positive that somebody is trying to do something to bring it back.
“It is a very popular event so it would be great to have it back to three days.
“We will have to see what the general opinion is about the change of date. It has been going for so long at Easter that it is something of a tradition, people are used to that.”
Next year will be the 24th anniversary of the festival in the town.