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Fowey Festival of Words and Music battles on

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

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ORGANISERS of one the county's biggest festivals have said they are confident this year's event will be a success, despite huge cuts to its budget.

The Fowey Festival of Words and Music will take place from May 10 to 17 but has been scaled down after losing Cornwall Council funding.

Formerly known as the du Maurier Festival, the literary event used to attract tens of thousands of people with talks and interviews from top authors and celebrities as well as live music, presentations and theatre.

However, the 2014 event will represent a new era for the festival as it is moved into the centre of Fowey to make use of existing venues at the heart of the town.

Gone is the festival village – to be replaced by the church, town hall and space within hotels such as Fowey Hall and the Fowey Hotel.

Lynn Goold, festival director, said 2014's event was "shaping up well" despite the changes: "It's different [compared to previous years] because we haven't got the marquee up at the festival village but we are using the lovely venues that we have around the town, like the church, which is going to be a major venue, as is the town hall," she said.

The organisational structure has also changed with former director Johnathan Aberdeen being made redundant in order to cut costs. "The hardest thing is that instead of having quite a lot of money behind us, we've had very little money. Because of that we sadly had to make our programme director redundant last year and had to think of new ways of putting the programme together.

"This year has been challenging but [with] what's been done in the time and [with] the money available ... I think people will be pleasantly surprised. We had to really look at it and say, 'This is the core and we can build on this'. In many ways we were a little bit late in starting to put it together, due to the organisational changes."

She said that despite the changes to venues she hoped it would still bring in the crowds.

"It's a case of trying to bring different people in to bring a freshness to it; it will have a quite different look to it but we hope the feel of it will be the same.

"It's going to be different for everybody; we've got to all work together to make it successful. We are very grateful for all the support we've had from the town."

Mrs Goold said the team trustees would take it "one step at a time" before deciding on how to approach the 2015 festival.

"We've had to take it down a step and then we will take smaller steps in building it back up; we need to put it on a firm footing.

"When you have had council funding and then you have to go without that safety net, it's a different challenge.

"The trustees have worked really hard to put on something the public will enjoy. I'm sure the public will understand we've done our best with the resources that we have and that we want to do more in future. "

The line-up for the festival is set to be announced next week and Mrs Goold said there would be some well-known names attending: "There are some notable authors certainly coming; people will be pleasantly surprised as to who we have been able to obtain."

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