Willow Festival postponed until 2016 as organisers run out of time to raise funds

Willow Festival 2014 at Embankment  Socrade playing on the main stage. EMN-141207-194517009
Willow Festival 2014 at Embankment Socrade playing on the main stage. EMN-141207-194517009

Thousands of music lovers will miss out this summer after the popular Willow Festival was postponed until 2016.

Dejected organisers have confirmed the long-running festival in Peterborough will not go ahead this year after they ran out of time to raise funds.

But the festival, which began in 1998, has already been confirmed for July 2016 when it will be held for the 10th time.

And there is optimism for the festival’s long-running future, while sister events in other counties could also be run with new sponsors said to be getting on board.

A crowd of 63,000, according to organisers, turned out at The Embankment last year for the three-day festival to hear the 178 live bands and solo acts.

Emerging talents were given the chance to perform on stage, and last year even saw a silent disco where the music could only be heard through headphones.

Describing the reasons for the festival’s closure, organiser Mark Ringer and the rest of his team released a statement saying: “This has been a very hard decision and we are very disappointed. The decision has been made to secure the longevity, security and growth of TWF for the future.

“Despite the many public donations and sponsorship secured, we face a shortfall in bringing you the quality of event that we would wish to deliver.

“We would like to thank all those who have donated this year, both financially and with their time voluntarily, and we can promise you that no effort has been in vain. All of the band applications will be carried forward for 2016 and we again thank the thousands who have indeed applied.

“On a personal level and as the organisers, we have very mixed feelings. We are dejected that we have to let the festival pass us by this year as so much work has already gone into it, but we are buoyant and excited about all the positive things that are going to come to fruition over the coming months and ask for the support of the music community, fans and local people to see this as a positive step to secure this event for many years to come.

“There is good news for the future as new sponsors and partners have already been agreed for the 2016 festival and we have a good financial start for next year with funds raised via public donation through 2015.

“Despite the disappointment we face in 2015, the outlook for The Willow Festival is looking very bright indeed having been approached by two other counties to stage sister events next year, which will also boost our financial security and strengthen TWF as a national brand.

“The “Friends of TWF” membership initiative is also about to launch, and we have a large number of supporters who have pre signed for membership, both public and commercial. This initiative is a new revenue source that TWF has not enjoyed previously.

“Our brand new interactive website will also be launched imminently, so we will keep you all up to date with news, satellite events, offers and opportunities.

“Peterborough City Council have been very supportive in this decision and we are pleased to announce that they will be looking at several avenues with regard to supporting TWF in 2016.

“Councillors have been working hard behind the scenes on our behalf and wish to see The Willow Festival flourish and grow in the future.

“We are confident a new era of support from Peterborough City Council is ahead of us and also a new era for the festival.

“The dates for 2016 will be 8th-9th-10th July, so please put these in your diaries.

“Thank you all again for your continued and unprecedented support, it’s very much appreciated as always.”