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Issue 297 – Festival receives £3,500 boost

Frome Festival 2010 received an early 10th birthday present with the award of a £3,500 grant from Somerset county councillor Alvin Horsfall.

The Liberal Democrat member for Frome South chose to allocate more than a third of his £10,000 annual discretionary grant to the festival on economic grounds. Councillor Horsfall said, “Frome Festival is vital to the town’s economic development because where there is culture, there is economic life.
“Since its launch in 2001, the festival has grown to become an ‘intellectual Glastonbury’, introducing thousands of people to the town. Its role in the regeneration of Frome over the past decade has been huge. By pulling together the town’s artistic talent, it has brought Frome national recognition. Without the festival, the town would not be the vibrant, creative place it is today. As we come out of recession, it deserves our full support.
“I thank both the present team and festival founder Martin Bax for their hard work and professionalism in reaching this landmark in the event’s history.”
Frome Festival 2010 celebrates its 10th anniversary from 9th-18th July, with almost 200 events in 50 different venues over ten days. Headline acts include Paul Merton, Reginald D. Hunter, Jo Caulfield, John Hegley, Seth Lakeman and Gerald Dickens, the great great grandson of Charles Dickens.
Festival chairman Bob Morris said the £3,500 grant would enable the festival to remain true to its founding principles.
He said, “We want the festival to continue, but we also want it to remain accessible. The kind of support that Alvin Horsfall has organised helps us to keep the balance between maintaining income and offering tickets at a reasonable price, with some free events. That balance is crucial to a community festival. We are most grateful, and the results will show in July.”
Festival creative director Martin Dimery hoped others would follow Councillor Horsfall’s lead. Martin said, “Businesses in the town give generous sponsorship year on year because they see the economic value of our work. I hope this grant convinces other funding bodies outside of Frome that we are a deserving cause. It gives us great heart for the future when prominent figures such as councillor Horsfall see the benefits that the festival brings to the town.”
Last month, Frome Chamber of Commerce wrote to thank the festival for its contribution to the town economy. It follows figures released by Frome Tourist Information Centre that show tourism increased by 80% during last year’s 10-day festival.
This year sees the end of Somerset County Council’s annual discretionary grant scheme that gave every county councillor the power to fund projects in their area, which aim to improve community life. Councillor Horsfall has also awarded grants in 2010 to St John’s School, Vallis Veg, Collegians Football Club and Frome Town Council’s Cobble Wobble bicycle event in September. As a member of the county council’s economic development committee, the former stonemason from Hadspen, near Bruton, worked to bring the Tour of Britain cycle race to Frome for the first time in 2009, and secured extra funding for Frome Carnival.
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Pictured: Back, from left to right, festival administrator Fred Rolfe, Somerset county councillor Alvin Horsfall and festival chairman Bob Morris. Front, festival creative director Martin Dimery.