Sad note for Bute jazz

The organisers of the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival have announced the 2017 event will not take place.
The organisers of the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival have announced the 2017 event will not take place.

Fans of the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival will be sad to learn that the 2017 event has been cancelled.

Event organisers took the decision to pull the plug because of “critical” economic factors.

They cited rising costs, falling ticket sales, and doubts over how much funding would come from Argyll and Bute Council.

The board said the decision to cancel had been made with ‘‘profound regret and sadness”.

The festival was due to be held over the May bank holiday weekend.

In a statement the board said: “The decision has been made after carefully considering a number of factors including the continued assurance of our financial agreement with Argyll and Bute Council, year on year falls in our ticketing revenue despite our best marketing endeavours, the increasing age profile of our core audience and a projected 15 per cent increase in our band accommodation costs for 2017.”

In 2016 the festival was in year two of a three-year Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Argyll and Bute Council which had been renewed in 2015 on the same terms as a previous three-year agreement dating from 2012.

However, faced with massive financial challenges of its own, the council decided in February this year to cut all SLA payments by 20 per cent.

Unable to guarantee that next year’s SLA payment would remain the same as in 2016, the board said that it couldn’t risk being left with a deficit.

The board has thanked its many supporters following the sad news.

“The board wish to thank the chair, directors and committee past and present for the thousands of hours of voluntary work they have put into the organisation of the last six festivals," the statement continued.

“The board realises that this announcement will come as a disappointment to the many loyal jazz fans that have supported us over a large number of years but given the factors already listed, we consider it impossible to run a festival of reduced size which would fall short of the high standards that we and our customers have come to expect.

“Bute is not alone in facing these problems and jazz festivals in Nairn (Inverness), Keswick and Dove Holes in Derbyshire have also been cancelled or reduced in size.

"As trustees of a registered Scottish charity we have a strict obligation not to take financial risks with the charity’s funds. Should we do so we would be in breach of the regulations enforced by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

“Notwithstanding the above the board would like to place on record its thanks to Argyll and Bute Council for its financial support over the last six years which has been a significant factor in enabling us to stage this event.”