When a festival dies

There has been a lot of musical hand-wringing about the closure of the City of London Festival, revealed exclusively in Slipped Disc yesterday. Not much of it is very perceptive.

The COLF died because it had outlived its usefulness.

The proof?

Its artistic director Paul Gudgin departed last October and no-one seemed to notice, or to care that the festival had failed to contact them any time since with proposals, bookings and inquiries. It had become peripheral, inessential.

Festivals have a time and place. If they outlive the first, they cannot maintain the second.

The sadness is that festivals take time to grow a national and international reputation, five or ten years at least. To lose that reputation is a loss for all, and consequences will follow. Other festival boards will be looking at their balance sheets this week, wondering if it is all worth while.

city of london festival


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