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Last Updated: Monday, 10 May, 2004, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Cash crisis puts festival at risk
Eliza Carthy
Eliza Carthy: Festival star
One of Britain's longest-running music festivals is in jeopardy because of escalating costs, organisers have warned.

Sidmouth International Festival of folk music marks its 50th anniversary this year.

But promoters Mrs Casey Music intend the event to be the final one.

The promoters cited lack of support from local businesses and the expected withdrawal of financial backing from East Devon District Council after 2005.

Security fund

The festival was washed out in 1997 by heavy rain and since then organisers have been eating into reserves to underwrite the event for bad weather.

They said in a statement: "The financial risk involved in organising and staging such an event has grown considerably over recent years.

"The current festival management find themselves unable to commit to events in the future without establishing a security fund of 200,000 to underwrite the festival in case of adverse weather."

Organisers say the festival brings in about 5m to the local community.

They added: "The organisers are aware that this news will shock many of the event's supporters. This decision has not been reached lightly. The only way that the current management is prepared to consider a future beyond the 50th festival is to secure sufficient underwriting."

This year's event, which runs from 30 July to 6 August, will feature Steeleye Span, Ralph McTell, Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, and Eliza Carthy.

A final decision on the festival's future will be made in early June.

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