Page last updated at 12:53 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 13:53 UK

Mayor cancels free music festival

Boris Johnson
The new two-day event will showcase London's music scene

London's mayor has announced he is cancelling the popular Rise Festival due to budget cutbacks.

Last year more than 10,000 people attended the free gig, which had become a regular event in Finsbury Park in north London since 1996.

Mayor Boris Johnson failed to find a sponsor this year and said the money saved could fund other projects.

The news was announced as Mr Johnson launched Rhythm of London, a new two-day music event on 10 and 11 July.

The showcase is part of a drive to increase musical opportunities for youngsters.

'Hidden talent'

Jennette Arnold, a Labour member of the London Assembly, has criticised Mr Johnson's decision to scrap the Rise festival, which was originally designed to bring different communities together in the capital.

She said: "The festival embodied all that is good about London, bringing people of all ages and cultures together. It was a celebration of London for Londoners - something Boris just doesn't get."

The Rise Festival was headlined by Brazilian dance act CSS last year and cost £551,000 to organise.

Mr Johnson believed without a major sponsor it was "not considered appropriate to spend such a large amount on a single music event, particularly during a recession".

He said: "Rhythm of London will be a brilliant chance for young Londoners to have a go. We want to capitalise on their incredible enthusiasm for music and unlock the capital's hidden talent."

The event will see music performed by local musicians in bandstands in Barnet, Golders Green, Hampstead, Hillingdon, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets.

Part of the programme will feature pianos played at landmarks, young buskers on the Tube and schools focusing on music for the day.

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