Festival hit by case of fund blues

BELLINGEN Jazz and Blues Festival president Ted Greenwood was battling a bout of the blues yesterday after being given bad news that could mean the end of the popular event.

The three-day festival, which attracts visitors from around Australia, has not been included on the list of the State Government's 2009 funding recipients.

“Well that may well be the death knell of the annual festival,” Mr Greenwood said.

“My immediate reaction is that we simply won't be able to go ahead because the amount of funding exceeds our annual profit ... without the funding there is no way we could trade to break-even.”

He said the festival received about $8000 annually from Arts NSW.

The money funds close to 25 per cent of the cost of festival musicians.

Last year the festival managed to trade into the black following the financially-disastrous 2007 festival, which was washed out.

“But that was largely thanks to Gillian and David Helfgott's generous offer of David performing free-of-charge - one can't expect such things regularly,” Mr Greenwood said.

He said the deeply disappointing news put the festival organisers in a very difficult situation.

“We'll be meeting as soon as possible - and looking at options for an alternative funding source. Maybe the council is willing to intervene in some form.”

The Bellingen Jazz and Blues Festival had hoped to celebrate its 20th birthday this year.

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