Black Country Festival Given £200,000 Funding Boost For 2017

Festival bosses promise the event will become bigger and better under agreed plans to invest £200,000 and will spread it out across all four authority areas.

The three-year scheme will see a balti festival, based in Lye, plus an increase in beer festivals and themed events. It will also see three people employed to focus on the event’s expansion after plans were approved at yesterday’s Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership meeting. Co-organiser of the festival, Steve Edwards, said:

“Over the last three years the festival has been expanding, but to have help through the LEP to make it even bigger will be absolutely fantastic. It started in Dudley, but every year we’ve added events in neighbouring boroughs, and we would like to add even more.”

Businesses will be encouraged to sponsor the event in order to raise money, while the Black Country Consortium will also work with Dudley Arts Council to help identify sources of funding. The report presented by Sarah Middleton, chief executive of the Black Country Consortium Ltd, states:

“Over the next three years Black Country Festival Committee believe that they can extend the success of the Black Country Festival in terms of number of events, including more events throughout the year, and the geographical reach by using the template developed successfully in Dudley throughout the other Black Country councils.”

At the moment, plans for the festival will see it remain primarily focused on Dudley for 2017, with Black Country branded town centre entertainment, a Lye-based Balti Festival, high profile variety nights, business showcases, and extra Black Country beer festivals.

The festival committee and staff will use this year’s festival to forge new relationships with community groups, businesses and councils in Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton with a view to extending the event in 2018. By 2019, it is hoped there will be events across the region.


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