Bishop launches appeal for St Asaph festival on "knife edge"


Rebecca Cole

THE Bishop of St Asaph has launched a £5,000 appeal to help a top music festival on a financial "knife edge" because of unpaid ticket sales.

The box office for last year's North Wales International Music Festival (NWIMF) in St Asaph was run by the Scala Cinema in Prestatyn, which closed in January.

The festival did not receive the £13,000 collected and organisers reported the matter to the police and the Charity Commission.

They stress there is absolutely no threat to this year's event which will go ahead between September 26 and October 3.

A stellar line-up of "world class" performers has already been unveiled, including the supremely talented former royal harpist, Hannah Stone.

This year's programme will also include the renowned Japanese pianist Noriko Ogawa, Australian guitarist Craig Ogden, vocal ensemble Stile Antico and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Bishop Gregory Cameron, who is also the president of the festival, has rallied to the cause to boost the festival's finances.

He has written to supporters saying: "As many of you will be aware from the local media, NWIMF suffered a serious financial loss following last year’s festival. 

"This was due to the fact that we had outsourced our box office to the Scala cinema and Arts Centre in Prestatyn, who unfortunately ceased trading in January of this year, and they have not been able to pay the festival the £13,000 box office money owed to us. 

"The chair and board of trustees have been working diligently to try and recoup this money but, to date, with no success. 

"The police and Charity Commission have been kept fully informed but, as yet, they have not been able to help us and we are presently uncertain whether our monies will be recuperated.

"Fortunately we are able to go ahead with the festival again this year due to the generosity of our funders and sponsors. 

"The programme is once again full of wonderful concerts, masterclasses and an education project following our 2015 theme of ‘light’.

"Consequently we are working on a knife edge and looking for other funding opportunities. 

"It would be wonderful if our friends were able to raise an additional £5,000 towards this year’s festival. No matter how small a donation you might be able to make, every £1 would help."

The hugely popular festival was founded in 1972 by the renowned royal composer Professor William Mathias.

According to Prof Mathias, he regarded establishing the event as one of his greatest achievements.

He visited venues in North Wales before deciding that St Asaph Cathedral provided the very best acoustic setting for the event.

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