Tees Valley festival receives £40,900 national Covid kick-starter

Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance

One of the region’s longest running arts and culture events has received essential national backing to help it strive for the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ as part of a scheme aimed at kickstarting The Arts, which has been devastated by the pandemic. 

The Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance (BIFF) has received a grant of £40,900 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen. 

More than £300 million has been awarded to 2,700 cultural organisations across the country including Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance in the second round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF). 

The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.  

BIFF has been entertaining and enthralling crowds for generations – fast approaching six decades of being one of the North East’s elite cultural events.  

During a pre-pandemic year, Billingham would be looking forward to throwing open its doors to thousands of performers and visitors from all over the world including countries like Chile China, Japan, Martinique, Mexico, North Cyprus and Russia but the streets, stages and venues have fallen silent due to the coronavirus.

“The Culture Recovery Fund is quite literally a lifesaver for The Arts,” said Olga Maloney, Artistic Director of Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance. 

The festival will be using the money to reinvigorate the style, appearance, creative content, and branding of the institutional event to help attract new audiences to its acclaimed headlining shows, educational workshops and enchanting street parades.

Olga Maloney continues: “It has been an emotional experience not being able to stage our festival for two successive years. We have had to adapt and use technology to keep the momentum and enthusiasm for international dance alive during the pandemic, and this has been achieved by moving the activities online and reaching out to our performers and audience members, online.

“We are confident that some kind of normality is within reach and we will be ready to welcome everybody back to Billingham with open arms, and hopefully help to secure the foundations of the Festival for years to come!”

For further information about Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance please visit www.billinghamfestival.com or follow us on Face Book and Twitter.

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