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PRESS RELEASE ISLE OF BUTE JAZZ FESTIVAL LIMITED BOARD STATEMENT
It is with profound regret and sadness that the Board of the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival Limited announces that due to critical economic circumstances it has been forced to cancel the 2017 Isle of Bute Jazz Festival due to be held over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.
The decision has been made after carefully considering a number of factors including the continued assurance of our financial agreement with Argyll & 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 & 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.
In view of this the Jazz Festival Board sought a guarantee from the Council that the amount of next year's SLA settlement would remain at the 2016 level. In his reply, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Dick Walsh was unable to make this commitment and intimated the Council's financial situation is likely to be just as challenging in 2017, a conclusion borne out by recent articles in the Scottish Press.
The Board is of the opinion that it is therefore likely the SLA payment would be further cut and perhaps even withdrawn altogether next year with the risk that a 2017 Festival would exhaust our reserves and leave us with an overall deficit.
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). We also have fiscal responsibilities as directors of a limited company to operate prudently.
Notwithstanding the above the Board would like to place on record its thanks to Argyll & Bute Council for its financial support over the last six years which has been a significant factor in enabling us to stage this event.
On a positive note, the winter concerts series will go ahead starting with Rose Room on Sunday 6 November at the 292 Club, details at www.butejazz.com and if these are well supported and financially successful the Board will consider putting on a one-off concert during next year's May Day Bank holiday weekend.
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.
ISLE OF BUTE JAZZ FESTIVAL
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