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Glastonbury Children's Festival cancelled due to lack of cash

By Central Somerset Gazette  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

Arabella Churchill who founded the Glastonbury Children's Festival

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This year’s Glastonbury Children’s Festival has been cancelled.

The festival, founded by Arabella Churchill in 1981, has fallen foul of bad weather and a “tricky” financial year. But organisers have vowed not to forget youngsters in central Somerset and will host a series of smaller events and workshops in the town over the summer.

They hope to return with a full festival in 2014.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” said director Paddy Hill. “The meeting went on for some time, and we didn’t take the decision lightly.

“But it’s purely a matter of finance and we can’t risk hosting another event that might lose money.”

Visitors to the festival had been down over the last two years due to bad weather.

Traditionally, the festival had been held on the same weekend as the Glastonbury Extravaganza, which also brought people into the town. But with the extravaganza replaced by Orchestra in a Field, which takes place in July, and with Glastonbury Festival taking a fallow year, the charity said they simply do not have the cash to run this year’s festival.

“We just do not have the resources to stage this event at this time,” Mr Hill said.

Glastonbury Children’s Festival was first staged in 1981 by Arabella Churchill, the granddaughter of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the one-time deb of the year.

Bella, as she was known by her loved ones, was often described as unconventional and made Glastonbury her home in the 1970s from where she helped found the Glastonbury Festival and later returned to make the children’s area of the Pilton festival what it is now.

Children were her focus and in 1981 she was to set in motion the first Glastonbury Children’s Festival, an event that would fund her Children’s World charity. Arabella died aged 58 from pancreatic cancer in 2008, leaving the charity in the hands of present-day directors Paddy Hill and Charlie Miller.

Organisers hope that giving the event a year off will also allow them to connect with residents and children to talk about the future of the festival and review some of the entertainment it provides.

“We’d like to hear from anyone who has any ideas what we could do differently,” Mr Hill said.

“But we want to assure our friends that regularly attend from across the UK that we consider this as resting the festival,” Mr Hill said.

“We will certainly be back in 2014 with our unique mix of quality shows, workshops and fun and games.”

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