Axe falls on Classical Fantasia in Leeds

Amy Dickson performs at last year's Classical Fantasia.

Amy Dickson performs at last year's Classical Fantasia.

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Cash-strapped council bosses have pulled the plug on another major cultural event in Leeds.

Leeds City Council today announced that the annual Classical Fantasia concert would not be taking place this year.

Traditionally held in September in the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey, the classical music extravaganza has in the past pulled in audiences of as many as 9,000 people.

Its cancellation follows last year’s decision by the council to axe its Temple Newsam-based Opera in the Park and Party in the Park concerts.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “The council continues to support a strong programme of arts and events as part of our ambition to make Leeds a great place to live, work and visit.

“Because of the continued financial pressures being faced by the council the types of events we can support are changing and we have had to review the long-term sustainability of some elements of the programme, and in particular those where the council has been the sole funder.

“Due to the significant cost of organising, producing and staging Classical Fantasia, we have taken the decision to no longer hold this event.

“However, Leeds continues to offer the world-class International Concert Season at Leeds Town Hall which still gives residents the opportunity to experience and explore this art form.

“Simultaneously, we are working with partners to deliver other exciting activities such as the Rugby World Cup and British Art Show this autumn, and the World Triathlon Series in 2016. 

“Millennium Square is currently the focus for an entirely new and eclectic series of summer concerts which we are confident offer something for everyone.

“Concerts by 10CC and UB40’s Ali Campbell have already taken place with performances by Alfie Boe, Union J and Texas still to come.

“We hope to bring these concerts back to the square next year.

“Despite the ongoing financial pressures we are facing, the council remains committed to ensuring the city has a diverse programme of events for everyone to enjoy.”

Stars who appeared at last year’s Classical Fantasia included Noah Stewart and Amy Dickson.

The event featured some elements that had previously proved popular at Opera in the Park.

Classical Fantasia was free until 2011, when paid-for tickets were introduced.

Kathleen Gaughan. PIC: Simon Hulme

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