A FESTIVAL that has grown in size and popularity over the last decade has received funding to help secure its future.

Like all other major public events planned for this year, the Swaledale Festival had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This week that it has been revealed that it has received a grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund administered by Arts Council England, to enable it to continue through the uncertain year ahead.

The festival usually sees dozens of artists descend on various venues across Swaledale over a fortnight in late May.

It experienced a bumper year in 2019, with a record number of ticket sales and organisers hoped to build on that for 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Artistic director Malcolm Creese said: "It has been a difficult year for Swaledale Festival, as it has for the whole world.

"Having to cancel the 2020 Festival was hugely disappointing, but thanks to the generosity of our ticket buyers, Festival Friends and Angels, and the recent news that we have received this grant from the ‘Culture Recovery Fund’, we are now in a relatively secure financial position to move forward.

"We’re also able to keep our excellent team of part-time professionals together and working."

The festival is always planned well in advance and a full programme for next year was completed months ago.

However, given the current coronavirus restrictions and the uncertainty of what the country will be faced with next May, next year’s Festival will now have to be rather different.

The Northern Echo:

Instead of grouping a large number of events into a two-week period in May and June, the festival plans to offer a series of individual events throughout the year.

Mr Creese said: "We feel this is our best chance of providing high quality music, arts and guided walks in the region, whilst helping to minimise the risks and lessen the burden on local people and infrastructure.

"The safety and well-being of ticket-buyers, volunteers, staff, performers and local people will, of course, be paramount."

Festival organisers are also planning a comprehensive programme of projects and performances for local schools and care homes.

Chairman Dr. Susan Miller says: "Looking (optimistically) a little further forward, we are already working on a fantastic programme for May/June 2022 when we will celebrate Swaledale Festival’s 50th anniversary.

"We thank you for your continued support."

Details of Festival activities in 2021 will appear on their website soon.