A HUNTINGDON music festival that has been entertaining crowds for 14 years has been axed after Huntingdonshire District Council has scrapped its entire arts budget. The Hinchingbrooke Spring Music Festival was founded in 1996, but this Friday s productio

A HUNTINGDON music festival that has been entertaining crowds for 14 years has been axed after Huntingdonshire District Council has scrapped its entire arts budget.

The Hinchingbrooke Spring Music Festival was founded in 1996, but this Friday's production at Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre will mark the end of the event.

HDC has said it could no longer afford to run it - the same stance it took with public toilets.

The festival was organised and run by the council's arts service with ticket sales providing much of the funding and usually features four concerts from February to May.

The final concert will see Hatstand Opera take to the stage for a range of music including pieces by Mozart, Gilbert and Sullivan and Tom Jones.

Susan Lammin, head of environmental and community health services, told The Hunts Post: "These concerts have required a significant investment by the council over the years including staff time for organising the event and the active marketing."

She said that following scrutiny of the arts service in 2009, the council had decided to "wind down the service" and withdraw funding and officer time from some arts activities.

The Riverside Concerts ended in 2009 and the Art Attack sessions for eight to 13-year-olds will run in June, August and October for the last time.

There will also be job cuts. HDC said that one of the arts service employees will be made redundant "but it is hoped that the other can be redeployed within the organisation".

Mrs Lammin added: "The outcome of deliberations was that prudent financial management will require that the breadth of council services may need to be reduced over the next year or so until public sector budgets are more balanced.

"Cultural activity in Huntingdonshire will continue and many events have been, and will continue to be, offered by private and community organisations without direct support from the local authority."

INFORMATION: The Hatstand Opera concert is taking place at Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre on Friday at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £9-£3 from 01480 388248.