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Tentertainment 2020 festival in Tenterden cancelled by organisers

The party is over. Organisers of a popular Kent festival that attracted 10,000-strong crowds have pulled the plug on it.

Tentertainment 2020 is cancelled and fans say they feel "gutted".

Fans are 'gutted' by the cancellation of Tenterden. Picture: Gary Browne
Fans are 'gutted' by the cancellation of Tenterden. Picture: Gary Browne

It's been an extraordinary journey for the small team of people who pulled together the huge annual spectacular that drew thousands of people onto the recreation ground in Tenterden

In December the Tentertainment committee launched an unsuccessful crowdfunding appeal for the festival, which costs £50k to stage, stating that "infrastructure costs have increased and fundraising revenue has fallen". It said appeals to local businesses had met with "very limited responses", while asking festival-goers to chip in had only resulted in donations of a few hundred pounds.

The committee, all volunteers with full time jobs, also discussed funding with Tenterden town council and Jo said: "We met with the town council, who have been very conciliatory and helpful, suggesting sources of grants and offering help with applications. It is clear that the council wanted Tentertainment to go ahead.

"But we would not have known if our funding requests had been successful until April or May and we couldn't cancel the festival at that late stage if we failed to get the money."

Tentertainment drew in big crowds. Picture: Gary Browne
Tentertainment drew in big crowds. Picture: Gary Browne

The meeting between the town council and Tentertainment team marked an end to the hostilities that first resulted in its closure.

Tentertainment ran for 11 years and the last festival in 2017 attracted 10,000 visitors, but after Tenterden council imposed last-minute restrictions limiting noise and opening hours ahead of its staging, the organisers pulled out from future festivals.

The restrictions had come on top of an undercurrent of resentment about levels of funding and support from the town council.

Tentertainment 2020 has been cancelled
Tentertainment 2020 has been cancelled

Last summer any differences appeared to have been put aside and it was announced that Tentertainment would be revived for 2020.

But at the start of the month the team posted on its Facebook page that they had reached the end of the line, saying that they had been appealing for funds while having "to deal with numerous serious issues in our own personal lives".

The team wrote. "We’ve had a great run! Many years of music, friendship, laughter and (mostly) sunshine, but we need to concentrate on our health, family and day-to-day lives now – and let the event go. Thanks for joining us over the years. It’s been a blast!"

Fans expressed their dismay at the loss of the festival on social media, with some saying they were "gutted. Annabelle Webster from Woodchurch was typical of many, writing that the free event that benefited so many charities would be hard to replace. She wrote: "We had cleared the weekend in the diary and were so looking forward to being back in town at this amazing event."

Jo said: "In the end finding the money for Tentertainment came down to us and with everything that happened we had all run out of energy and time.

"It's a shame that something so life-affirming, creative and fun has to end."

Read more: All the latest news from Tenterden

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