Council told free venues will aid Royston Arts Festival

Graham Palmer Royston Arts Festival chairman

Graham Palmer Royston Arts Festival chairman - Credit: Archant

Organisers of Royston Arts Festival are calling on the town council to offer venues to exhibitors free of charge and help grow the event’s reputation.

Graham Palmer, chairman of the festival committee, addressed members of Royston Town Council at the council’s meeting on Monday to ask for their help in reducing overheads for community groups wishing to take part in the festival.

Since being revived in 2007, the arts festival has become a key event in the town calendar, attracting visitors from Crow country and beyond. This year the programme was extended to include a week of activities.

Mr Palmer said: “The feedback we had from this year’s festival was overwhelmingly positive, with people saying the festival is a ‘wonderful way to show off the town and its talent’.

“One issue that was raised by the community groups that took part was the cost and availability of places to exhibit in the town centre.

“In recognition of the unique nature of the festival and its position in the town we feel it would be helpful if the town council waived hire charges for the Market Hill Rooms and town hall for exhibitors in festival week.”

Mr Palmer said that at present the committee often has to provide “seed funding” to community groups wishing to hire one of the venues during the festival.

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“We could be funding other projects with this money instead, and it would be extremely positive if the town council would consider waiving charges in future,” he said.

Royston’s Mayor, Cllr Bob Smith, said: “I have never seen the town so full as it was on festival week, and full of happy faces.

“We will take on board the comments about hall hire and they will be discussed at the relevant committees.”

Cllr Rob Inwood said: “It’s very important that we support the arts. I have been to quite a few of the arts festival events, and the festival seems to get better and better every year.”

The council is also considering a request from the festival organisers to help fund new bunting to advertise the festival in the town.