Council warns of funding cut for Perth festival

Councillors agree only two more years of subsidy

Perth arts festival organisers have been warned that they may not get any more funding from the city council.

Councillors at a grant making committee, which agreed to commit £43,000 worth of funding for 2020 and 2021, said that the festival would need to stand on its own feet in future.

Cllr Roz McCall, convenor of Perth and Kinross Council’s environment and infrastructure committee, which approved the grant, asked how long the council could be expected to give funding, given its financial pressures. She said: “I do not think this can go on forever.”

SNP leader Cllr Grant Laing added: “If you grant this, it has to be on the basis that it is coming to an end.”

The comments come just two years after Perth mounted an unsuccessful bid to become UK City of Culture for 2021. Perth’s Festival will have been running for 50 years in 2021.

Festival chair Peter Rutterford said it added: “The ongoing success of Perth Festival of the Arts was a factor in giving the city the confidence to bid for City of Culture status and it would therefore be very disappointing if 2021 were to be the final year the council felt they could support us.”.

The festival aims to reach an audience of 13,500 people in 2020 and 15,000 in 2021.

He added that the “festival has become a significant cultural event and a major success story for the city of Perth”.

In December most of the members of Perth's Horsecross Arts, which runs the city's theatre and concert hall, resigned after a critical external report. Perth and Kinross COUncil, which partly funds the venues, said the audit had "raised concerns" about the governance and management of the organisation


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