Jazz venues warned to get bids in early because there will be a limit to council subventions this year

Imelda May, this year's festival headliner.
Imelda May, this year's festival headliner.

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s culture boss Aeidin McCarter has warned venues hoping for council support for hosting giggs during the hugely anticipated 16th City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival need to get their bids in early this year.

Ms. McCarter explained that the overall budget for the festival secured via the rates process will be limited to £120,000.

She told members of the local authority’s Business and Culture Committee that in previous years the council has been able to augment the festival programme beyond its allocated budget from savings and diversions from other areas.

But that won’t be happening this year.

“There is a cut off point for venues this year and this is just getting that message out there,” she told committee members.

“We have to draw the line somewhere,” she added.

SDLP Councillor John Boyle suggested the fact the local authority may have to limit the number of venues it can support pointed to over-subscription as testament to the festival’s success.

He said: “In essence, what you’re saying is that the jazz festival is a victim of its own succhess.”

Councillor Boyle’s party colleague Brian Tierney asked if the cut-off point was merely a precautionary measure.

Ms. McCarter said: “We hope so.”

A report presented to the committee explained that “officers have been working to ensure that the festival programme is not affected however with limited budgets it is expected that all venues will be eligible for the full subvention and a selection process may have to be established”.

It added: “In previous years all applicants were able to be funded.”