Get ready for festival fever

Wigan Life Tuned In Concerts at Haigh Hall. Ronan Keating meets the fans in front of the stage
Wigan Life Tuned In Concerts at Haigh Hall. Ronan Keating meets the fans in front of the stage

TOUGH times or no: Wigan’s cultural calendar will be packed in 2011.

That’s the promise from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) who, through partnership with Wigan Council, the private sector and support from national funding bodies, will ensure another busy year despite government spending cuts.

The borough’s Words literature festival will go ahead following a £30,000 funding boost by Arts Council England while Wigan’s hugely popular Food and Drink Festival has once again been backed by local businesses investing £20,000 to ensure it goes ahead this March.

Wigan International Jazz Festival will celebrate 26 years in July – although the number of days will be reduced from eight to four.

Some of the borough’s best unsigned bands will also once again play at Haigh Fest in July.

Rodney Hill, Chief Executive of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, said: “These first class events have enhanced Wigan and Leigh’s cultural offer over the last few years and we have been working extremely hard to ensure as many of them as possible do go ahead in 2011.

“Given the £4m our organisation needs to make to contribute to the council’s savings, we face significant pressures and challenges which mean that not all our annual cultural events will continue in 2011.

“Through strong partnership working with the private sector and support from national funding programmes we have managed to ensure another strong festival season.”

Last year saw some of the UK’s biggest pop acts play at Haigh Hall as part of the Tuned-In Concert series. A similar two-day event is also being planned in July after WLCT reached agreement with outside promoters to take over managing and organising the event.

Fylde-based Cuffe and Taylor Event Management will stage Haigh Hall LIVE! in July. The deal will mean that once again local bands playing at Haigh Fest will do so on a truly world class stage.

Cuffe and Taylor, who are known for their successful outdoor events, such as Lytham PROMS, attended a few of the concert dates last year.

Directors’ Peter Taylor and Daniel Cuffe both said “We feel so privileged to be able to present an outdoor weekend of music in the grounds of Haigh Hall.

“Not only is it perfect stage viewing from all areas, just look at that backdrop! The people of Wigan are so lucky to have this on their doorstep.”

Mr Hill added: “The concerts will raise the profile of Haigh Hall and Wigan.”