Keep Wimborne's Folk Festoval Going!

After 32 years, the Wimborne Folk Festival - one of the largest of its kind in England - is no more.

A statement on the festivals website said this year's event, held in June, would be the last, with organisers blaming businesses for not supporting it financially.

The folk festival was first held in 1980 and regularly attracted crowds of up to 30,000.

The volunteer-run event was held over three days in the centre of the market town, with street dancing and live music.

Wimborne Folk Fest 2012

Festival founder Maria Bisp said:

"We went out while it was still successful. We are pleased that as amateurs were were able to achieve so much and keep up the standard."

But all is not lost - East Dorset District Council is looking for volunteers to try and carry on the tradition.

The District Council's Lead Member for Communities, Cllr Barbara Manuel, said:

"The festival has both a national and international reputation and attracts thousands of visitors annually to Wimborne and East Dorset

"The Council has been the principal supporter of the Festival over the last 20 years sponsoring the artistic programme, organising activities for young people on the fringes of the Festival and meeting substantial additional street cleaning costs over the Festival weekend. The Council has contributed in excess of £300,000 over the life of the event.

"In these austere times, where local authorities have seen a 30 per cent reduction in funding from central government and a two-year freeze on council tax, it shows the commitment that the Council has for the Festival in that total financial support for the 2012 event was more than £14,000."

An Arts Council report on Folk Festivals highlights the economic importance of them to local communities and Cllr Mrs Manuel is keen to meet with festival organisers or voluntary groups who would be interested in carrying on the traditions of the Wimborne Folk Festival.

Cllr Mrs Manuel added:

"The previous committee carried out sterling work to put on the Festival every year and we are very grateful for their contributions. We hope that we will be able to find interested people to take the Festival forward. The Council will maintain its 2012 funding for the event into 2013 and will work with interested parties who come forward with a viable bid."

Anyone interested in meeting the Council to discuss the future of the Folk Festival in Wimborne should contact Matti Raudsepp, Head of Leisure and Open Spaces on 01202 886201 or via email: .

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