Newcastle Green Festival faces cancellation

The Newcastle Community Green Festival’s future has come under threat due to a lack of funds, despite having been held annually since 1995, with organisers left with just two days to raise over £6,500 for the festival to go ahead.

The festival was first established in the mid-1990s and quickly evolved into a much loved project. Within a few years, it had attracted thousands of visitors and played host to numerous performers.

Funding however, has been in decline in recent years and created an uncertain climate around the future of the event. Councils would once offer financial help, but now licensing fees and the climate of austerity have put greater pressure on local events.

Gerard New, is a community worker and got involved with the festival through hosting a stall. His involvement grew so that now he is one of the organisers, and it’s his belief that events like this are much needed.

“There are no events like it celebrating what people achieve in local communities,” he said. “It’s about raising awareness and celebrating what people do.”

 

The event would attract between three to five thousand people, and New acknowledged that while “it was once vibrant” there has been greater strain put on the festival due to its funding not being secure.

The event’s popularity has endured over the years and it has attracted many people to its cause. Emma Conroy is a long term volunteer for the festival and revealed her fears over its future.

“The Green Festival has been part of my life for many, many years and I will be devastated if another year goes by without it. Events that bring people together are so important, especially ones like this that celebrate local community, talent, creators and charities.”

The loss of the festival would certainly have an impact on those who worked most closely on hosting the event each year. The organisers though are keen to press its wider duty and value to the community, and that it goes beyond individual passions.

Rakesh Prashar who has been deeply involved in the festival revealed why he thinks its so important to the region.

“The Green Festival provides a platform to volunteer organisations in the North East to tell people what they are doing”. Prashar said. “It allows people who are concerned about our environment to come together and enjoy a day in a park while listening to local bands while enjoying the best local vegan and vegetarian food.

“It shows people that anyone can make a difference and it allows volunteer organisations an important opportunity to network and support each other.”

Nationwide, green and environmental events have fallen off the government’s agenda but the Newcastle Community Green Festival has abided steadfast by the philosophy of “think globally, act locally”. There are few events of such a nature across the country, and if it fails to secure funding it may well be reflective of the country’s wider concerns that environmental issues aren’t a priority for spending.

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