Oundle Music Trust has been awarded £58,823 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help arts organisations face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.
The funds could not have come soon enough for the Trust. Artistic Director, Kenneth Richardson said: “Along with the generosity of our friends, sponsors and audience members, this award will enable us to plan ahead.”
Oundle Music Trust is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced as part of the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England.
At the beginning of lockdown, it became apparent that the planned festivals for the summer of 2020 would have to be cancelled. At the start of the year, they had just had a successful festival launch, and ticket sales were going well.
However, when the box office income ceased overnight, as ticketing is a large part of their overall income, it was clear that drastic action was required. The office and the staff were all laid off, and the organisation went into “hibernation, pending better times”.
Mr Richardson said the importance of the grant could not be overstated. “It recognises the value of what the organisation does for Oundle and enables us to re-start operations with our core team, plan events for 2021 and pursue our goal of re-branding the organisation.”
Trust organisers are now planning the 2021 festival. “Assuming things proceed much as they are now, we are aiming to present a slightly reduced festival with socially distanced performances.”
Following the success of 2020’s virtual festival, and with the help of the grant, they plan to continue an online presence and livecast some of their performances, allowing them to have an audience watching both in the venue and from home.
The potential benefit is that they will be able to market their performances to a bigger audience than can be accommodated in person, and take Oundle out to the wider virtual world beyond our regional and national boundaries.
Ann Elise Smoot, Director of Oundle for Organists, also has plans in place for the 2021 Oundle for Organists Summer School.
“The Fund’s support, allows us to plan for the future with renewed hope and enthusiasm, building on our successful 35 year history,” she said.
Unfortunately, their box office on New Street will not reopen, however the Trust is exploring ways to have a presence in town.
The Oundle Music Trust runs Oundle International Festival, Oundle for Organists, Oundle Cinema and Oundle Food Festival.
1 December 2020