Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Festival scrapped over cash fears

The Sunshiners at Womad 2006
The Womad Festival formerly attracted 40,000 people to Reading

A major new music festival in Reading has been hit by a cash crisis and has been scrapped by councillors.

The two-day Heavenly Planet Festival was seen as a replacement to the Womad event which attracted 40,000 people a year before moving to Wiltshire.

Organisers decided to allow free entry after selling less than 1,000 tickets out of a maximum 15,000.

But councillors have decided to call off the festival set for July following the loss of an event partner.

The event, aimed at families and young festival-goers, was supposed to be a "musical celebration".

Many acts had already confirmed including Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, The Wonder Stuff and Chase & Status.

Councillor Graeme Hoskin said: "It is a disappointment.

"In hindsight we did choose probably the worse possible year to launch a new festival.

"One of our partners withdrew for legal reasons and we had to have a look at it and decided to cancel.

"The money available was much less than what we would need to launch a great festival for the future."

Mr Hoskin said he was confident the event, or something similar, could be organised next year.

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