Fab four festivals line-up

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A festivals funding saga looks to be nearing its end after a heated meeting between a top music promoter and Morecambe Town Council.

Steve Middlesbrough and councillors came to an agreement after 90 minutes of talks behind closed doors at Morecambe Town Hall.

Mr Middlesbrough now hopes to run four three-day pop music festivals on Morecambe promenade this year: Morecambe Jazz, Country Kickback, BluesWater and Motown Magic. Dates will be announced soon.

Thursday night’s festivals and events committee meeting began with the press and public being asked to leave.

Councillor June Ashworth, committee chair, said this was because talks were “likely to disclose exempt information relating to Mr Middlesbrough’s business interests”, even though the promoter himself said he wanted an open meeting.

Afterwards, he said: “We had a frank exchange of views and we agreed on a workable budget.

“I realise the council only has a limited amount of money but all events promoters get frustrated because we’d like more, because we want Morecambe to go upwards.

“We have agreed in principle to go ahead with four festivals but there will be a bigger announcement in February.”

Coun Ashworth said: “I’m quite happy that we’ve resolved the situation and we look forward to seeing a good season of festivals.”

Funding for Mr Middlesbrough’s four festivals remains subject to approval from full council at their next meeting.

He had initially been unhappy that his £30,000 grant from 2012 had been cut by over half for 2013, forcing him to scrap two of his most popular events Morecambe Live and Beach Bash.

Morecambe Town Council budgeted £55,000 on events for the town this year, including favourites like Tutti Frutti and the Kite Festival.