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Ludlow Fringe Festival will carry on after arts festival folds

South Shropshire | News | Published:

Ludlow's Arts Festival may have folded for the second time, but the Fringe Festival that surrounds it will carry on, organisers have vowed.

A public meeting is being held next week to discuss what can be done at the Fringe Festival in the light of an announcement that the Shakespeare and Arts Festivals at Ludlow Castle will not be going ahead.

The 50-year-old Ludlow Arts Festival hit financial trouble in 2011 and was scrapped in 2012, but returned in 2013.

This year's was billed as the biggest and best ever, pulling in big names including David Essex, Showaddywaddy and Les McKeown's Legendary Bay City Rollers as well as comedians Jim Davidson and Ken Dodd and survival expert Ray Mears.

But West End stalwarts Chris Moreno and Chris Davis, the men behind the revived festival, have issued a statement along with the owners of Ludlow Castle to say, despite pulling out all the stops this year, the events were not well enough supported and will not take place in 2015.

  • See also: Shock as Ludlow Arts Festival is axed

Through the ups and downs of the Arts Festival, however, a Fringe Festival has sprung up in the wider town that is alive and kicking, and organisers hope it can go some way towards filling the gap next year.

Anita Bigsby, organiser of the Ludlow Fringe Festival, said the Fringe Festival would be going ahead as planned.

She said: "We're really sad to hear that it (Ludlow Arts Festival) hasn't worked again. It brought a lot of people to the town, it is a shame. But I don't think it's the end of it, I'm sure there will be something similar in the future."

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Les McKeown's Legendary Bay City Rollers thrilled the crowds at the festival in Ludlow this year. Picture: S&B Photography.

She said the Fringe, however, was very healthy. "We had a fantastic Fringe this year thanks to hard work and lots of effort from dozens of volunteers – huge thanks to all of them.

"This year we had over 100 events at 40 venues and 1,000 participants took part.

"Next year we will be working with a wider group in the community.

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"Given the news about Ludlow Arts Festival, we felt it was a good time for the Fringe to host a public meeting to reassure the town that Ludlow Fringe is going from strength to strength and will very much be back next year.

Ken Dodd tickled the audience this year at the main festival

"We'll be on hand to answer questions, listen to feedback and share our plans for next year. We'd love more people to get involved too, there are all sorts of roles available, from PR and marketing to programming and event management. "Let's show everyone what a great and creative town Ludlow really is."

Next year will mark the fourth year of the Ludlow Fringe, and this year organisers attended the World Fringe Conference in Edinburgh to join up with other fringe-style events in towns across the globe – both to attract international acts and give Shropshire performers the opportunity to make contacts abroad.

Shaun Ward, artistic director of Ludlow Arts Classical Summer Festival, added: "We're delighted that Ludlow Fringe will be returning for another year.

"St Laurence's is the prime classical music venue in Ludlow and last year our mini-fest of music was one of the highlights of the Fringe.

"We are already working on an exciting programme of concerts to complement the dynamic Fringe. We look forward to everyone's support as we all move forward."

The public meeting on next year's festivities will be held at Ludlow Brewery on October 30, at 7pm.

The meeting is open to all and Fringe volunteers, local arts groups and marketing people for the festival will all be in attendance, as well as people involved with the cancelled Ludlow Arts Festival.

The Ludlow Fringe Festival will be held from June 13 to July 5 next year.

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