Next year’s Bury St Edmunds Festival, which regularly attracts visitors to the town and has been one of the cultural highlights of the year, has been cancelled.
The decision was made by West Suffolk Council so that the Apex, which is the main venue for the event, can prioritise booking and marketing a full calendar of events.
The festival, which usually takes place in May, is organised and marketed by the Apex.
While it has been welcoming audiences back to performances for a few months now, it is its programme going forward that is a priority.
Jo Rayner, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture at West Suffolk Council, said: “Our priority must be in getting the Apex, the cultural and community venue that we own and manage on behalf of our residents, fully back up and running. We are, of course, already staging some performances and events and have been welcoming back audiences for a few months now. It would be wrong, however, to think that things have simply been switched back on and are continuing as before.
“During the pandemic the Apex had to cancel or postpone many performances and given the level of uncertainty we all faced, it wasn’t in a position to so easily book ahead. Those that were postponed are now being rearranged. The Apex is also working to get a full programme of events planned going forward. This is to maximise the performance of the Apex not just in terms of the events we put on but also to further support its use as a community venue for hire.
“The festival, meanwhile, takes many months of planning ahead as well as engagement and co-ordination with other venue partners and producing marketing material. It also involves a huge amount of work from the Apex and in a normal year, it would already be working on the festival now to ensure that it is a success.
“Given the need to prioritise the Apex events programme, we think it is prudent to cancel next year’s festival. We will of course support the work of our partners in organising and putting on other festivals and events across West Suffolk.”