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Doubts over future of Leeds Classical Fantasia arts event

Classical Fantasia at Kirkstall Abbey.

Classical Fantasia at Kirkstall Abbey.

THE FUTURE of a third major cultural event in Leeds was today hanging in the balance.

As reported in yesterday’s YEP, the Leeds City Council-backed Party in the Park pop concert will not take place this year due to budget pressures at the local authority.

Party in the Park’s sister event, Opera in the Park, was yesterday also revealed to be facing an uncertain future.

And now the council has confirmed that a decision has still to be made on whether this year’s Classical Fantasia concert will go ahead. Classical Fantasia is staged each September in the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey and in the past has attracted crowds of up to 9,000 people.

Today a council spokeswoman said it was not yet clear if the classical extravaganza would be held this year but stressed that the local authority remained “hopeful” that it would end up going ahead.

The spokeswoman also confirmed that, to date, there had been no decision on whether Opera in the Park would be staged in 2014.

Party in the Park, however, is definitely off this year, although council bosses are refusing to rule out a return for it in the future if suitable sponsorship can be found.

The event’s long-standing co-organiser, 96.3 Radio Aire, yesterday said it had “reluctantly concluded” with the council that the concert was no longer feasible in its current format.

A spokeswoman for Radio Aire went on: “All the station team are hugely disappointed that Party in the Park will not go ahead for 2014. It’s not a decision we have taken lightly.”

Party in the Park and Opera in the Park are normally held over the same summertime weekend in the grounds of Temple Newsam House.

Ticket charges for the previously-free events were introduced in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

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