£10,000 grant is music to the ears

EDITORIAL – herts.advertiser@archant.co.uk     The Comet

11 November 2004

NEXT summer's Rhythms of the World music festival has been given a boost by North Herts district councillors who have voted to give a £10,000 grant.

That is twice the amount allocated for this year and is partly in response to increasing health and safety costs and licensing fees.

Hilary Ide, chairman of Rhythms, thanked councillors for their previous support, some of it in kind.

She said the free music festival, held annually in Hitchin, is improving "partly because of the team, the police, the council and highways department".

She singled out the Dreamacatcher project, which involved 1,000 children at nine primary schools, as "a wonderful spectacle".

She also highlighted events at St Mary's Church where banners were put up representing a variety of religions.

"There was our wonderful vicar, with a grin on his face, welcoming these people freely. It was completely inclusive," she said.

She added that Rhythms aims to be financially independent with business sponsors, street collections and stalls.

"We are becoming stronger but there are spiralling health and safety costs. The help we get from NHDC is crucial.

"We put Hitchin and North Herts on the map."

NHDC officer Tim Stephen said that if the council staged the event it would cost £250,000. It cost £51,419 to run last year.

"Hitchin is very fortunate to have a group of volunteers with the experience and enthusiasm to run such an event," he said.

After considering a £7,500 grant the councillors decided to give the £10,000 that had been asked for in principle, to be paid in the new financial year.

They also agreed that Butts Close could be used as a car park during the festival in July.