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Big Chill put on ice

The depressed economy’s effect on the music scene has been demonstrated by the cancellation of one of the UK’s most popular music festivals, The Big Chill.

The festival has been a relaxed highlight of the English summer, popular with families. The emphasis has been on laid-back music in the beautiful grounds of Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, although the usually amiable crowd took exception to Kanye West’s eccentric performance last summer.

The organisers are blaming a shortage of suitable artists, but it is apparent that the economic climate and greater competition have made some festivals a risky proposition.

Melvin Benn, of the organisers Festival Republic told The Guardian: "I looked long and hard late last year at moving the date so it didn't clash with the Olympics but the mix of the festival fans' desire to keep the date, and an inability to find an alternative date that works meant I plumped for maintaining the existing weekend. Sadly, the artist availability and confirmations we were achieving led me to conclude that I couldn't risk going ahead with the event this year."

In 2011 around 30 smaller festivals were cancelled due to falling ticket sales. Michael Eavis, the semi-retired mastermind behind the UK’s biggest festival, Glastonbury, has already decided to take a year off in 2012, and wonders whether there is still the same degree of interest in major festivals.

The Big Chill organisers are looking into the possibility of arranging some smaller-scale indoor events for the summer, and hope that Big Chill will return to the UK festival scene in 2013.

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