London: Gay arts festival GFEST cancelled
London’s annual gay and transgender arts festival GFEST has been cancelled this year due to a lack of funding.
Supporters of GFEST, which would have been in its sixth year this year, were told yesterday afternoon that the capital’s arts event, which has no connection with Pride, will no longer go ahead later this year.
The message said: “Last week we received communication from the Arts financing body to say that they were unable to support our proposal due to a shortage of funds. Around the same time we also received notification that our revenue support proposal was not commissioned by the local authority.
“As a result of this we have to take the unprecedented step of announcing that GFEST, the annual event held November, will not take place this year. This has been a difficult decision to make and it is with sad heart that we do so in order to avoid any potential negative impact on the artists. The majority of our options to secure any additional grant support, commercial and corporate sponsorships were also met with limited or no response.”
Benjamin Cohen, the founder of PinkNews.co.uk is a trustee of Wise Thoughts, the charity that runs GFEST said: “It’s a real shame that the Arts Council has decided not to continue to fund Wise Thoughts to produce compelling and thought provoking GFest festivals that reflect the diversity of LGBTQI life in Britain.
“The lack of funding both corporate and statutory is another blow to our community following the World Pride debacle. These cultural and political events are incredibly important to the vibrancy of our community and we should all work together to ensure that they can continue in the future.”
GFEST had opened for submissions in April. Organising charity Wise Thoughts said it “like to thank all the artists / filmmakers who submitted their work for the festival this year and are extremely sorry to cause any inconvenience to them. We are keen to work with the artists & filmmakers in future wherever an opportunity presents.”
Organisers thanked all those involved for five “exciting and memorable” years, “despite the enormous funding challenges in the last three years”. They hoped “the torch will be carried on by others presenting the talented LGBTQI artists and practitioners excellent work”.