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Brisfest music festival will not return next year

By cfayfineran  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

Brisfest music festival will not return next year

Brisfest music festival will not return next year

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Organisers of the Brisfest music festival have announced the event will not be taking place next year.

After two successive years at Ashton Court, it looked like an annual festival had finally returned to the spiritual home of open air music in Bristol.

But trustees of the registered charity were forced to cancel the not-for-profit event after struggling to make ends meet with its volunteer-led model.

The festival will take a fallow year in 2014 and is set to return to Ashton Court in 2015.

Organisers from the Bristol Festival Community Group said Brisfest faces a "huge challenge" each year to deliver the festival on a "shoestring budget".

It added: "Previously everyone worked and performed for free in order to keep ticket prices as low as possible, but we want to try to find a way to raise the funds to pay local artists, whilst still remaining affordable.

"So the team of 204 local volunteers, venue owners, music industry professionals and musicians have decided to take a break from the major festival at Ashton Court, in order to focus their skills on the new projects being launched next year."

Among the new project are plans to take Brisfest on tour to other festivals around the UK. Also on the cards is a new Festivals Centre for Bristol which will act as a home to many of the city's events to "encourage sharing of resources and collaboration".

This September's festival attracted around 20,000 people to its 15 venues with headliners Primal Scream drawing in the biggest crowd to date at the main stage on the closing Sunday night.

But the crowds fell short of the 50,000 capacity of the vast site on the Ashton Court Mansion grounds – the home of the ill-fated Ashton Court Festival, which went bankrupt in 2007.

Since the Brisfest trustees resurrected the festival and eventually took it to Ashton Court, the event has been a careful game of balancing books to stage an event "by the city, for the city".

Organisers are now considering a more "sustainable" model which could rely less on volunteers and interns who have made the festival possible up until now.

"We have had to take a step back recently and look at what we have got," said Olly Mochizuki, a Brisfest trustee.

"What we have realised is that we need to take the festival forward and find a more sustainable long term solution."

He added that all options were open heading into next year where a number of new projects are also on the horizon.

He praised the skeleton staff which has kept Brisfest going so far and the scores of volunteers who dedicate their time throughout the year.

He said: "We have created something with an incredible community energy and we are all very proud of it.

"All the people who have worked with us and for us have taken a lot of experience away with them and Brisfest has been key in training a lot of young, enthusiastic people in the Bristol music community."

A statement from trustees added: "Brisfest hopes to return to Ashton Court in 2015, bigger, better and greener than ever before."

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