Meeting next week "to save Bute jazz festival"

AN EMERGENCY meeting is to be held in Rothesay next week to try and find a way of saving the island's annual jazz festival.

The event's organisers announced last week that there would be no festival in 2011, blaming a shortage of funding support for their decision and expressing the hope that the event could return the following year.

But the owners of a number of local businesses are understood to be concerned that if this year's event does not happen, it will prove impossbile to bring it back in future years.

Local businesses have been encouraged to bring suggestions or offers of assistance to the public meeting, which will take place at the Victoria Hotel on Wednesday, January 26 at 7.30pm.

A poster distributed around Rothesay by the hotel's staff, under the heading 'Save the Jazz Festival', includes the message: "The risk of missing a year is a substantial gamble, and one only needs to look at the demise of the folk festival to realise the difficulties in resurrecting an event when it is gone.

"The jazz festival is arguably the busiest weekend in the Bute calendar and brings much needed substantial revenue to the island, therefore, to let it go without considerable effort from all would be a disaster.

"It is understood that funding is the main issue, albeit the figures at face value appear not to be insurmountable."

While next Wednesday's meeting is primarily aimed at gathering assistance and guidance from Bute's business community, members of the public are also welcome to attend.