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Promoter needed for struggling Keswick jazz fest

Got money and a vision? The Theatre by the Lake wants to hear from you

By IQ on 16 Feb 2016

Hot Antic Jazz Band, Keswick Jazz Festival 2011, Alison Kerr

The Hot Antic Jazz Band at Keswick Jazz Festival 2011

image © Alison Kerr (jazzmatters.wordpress.com)

The Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, Cumbria, is seeking an experienced promoter to take over responsibility for the Keswick Jazz Festival.

The theatre is unable to manage the festival, which has run since 1991, past 2016 in the face of falling ticket sales, cuts to public funding, a shortage of affordable accommodation for artists, the complexity of managing multiple temporary venues and demands on the time of the theatre’s staff, Theatre by the Lake executive director Patric Gilchrist tells the News & Star.

“The present arrangement is unsustainable for the theatre and there has to be change if the festival is to survive,” he says. “We hope to find an experienced and enthusiastic promoter who can devise a credible business plan to take the festival forward and ensure its financial stability by our deadline of 9 May 2016.

“If no credible offers are received by that date 2016’s festival will be the last in its current form.”

“We very much hope that we can find someone with the investment and vision to provide the festival with a sustainable future”

The Keswick Jazz Festival’s main source of external funding comes in the form of sponsorship from Jennings Brewery.

“We calculate that we allocate 165 days of staff time to the event each year,” says Gilchrist.

“We are also aware that the people who have loyally supported the festival for many years are getting older and that younger audiences are not being attracted: 86 per cent of people who book tickets are over 65 and 42 per cent are over 75.

“At a time when the theatre is having to adapt to public funding cuts, with the prospect of further cuts to come, we cannot continue to support the festival in the way that we have since the theatre opened in 1999.

“We very much hope that we can find an individual or organisation with the investment and vision to provide the festival with a sustainable future.”