After a successful 18th year, Brockley Max, the community arts festival which showcases local talent in venues across Brockley, Ladywell, Crofton Park and Honor Oak, is facing a challenging 19th.
Moira Tait, who has organised Brockley Max from the very beginning, is increasingly concerned about the future of the event as funding becomes ever tighter.
“This year our funding is already down £3,000-4,000 on 2018 and we’ve had to look at cutting costs where we can and raise additional income from things like raffle ticket sales.”
“This year I even invested in two card readers because more and more people have stopped using cash … but we still need them to buy those tickets.”
With Lewisham council cutting back on grants to a host of local initiatives and projects, Moira fears the art festival is at risk of losing up to 30 per cent of the roughly £32,000 needed to stage the event next year.
“We made sure this year’s festival wass another success. But I don’t know what will happen next year … I really don’t.”
Brockley Max has never been a commercial festival. “All our income is used to cover costs and keep the event going in the following year.”
“We’ve always aimed to keep as many events as possible free to ensure it is accessible to as many local people as possible.”
But council funding cuts will pose a serious threat to the future of the festival.
With the government’s austerity drive forcing Lewisham to slash budgets, Ladywell and other local assemblies are set to lose the council funds they have used to support initiatives such as Brockley Max.
“Assembly funding is very important to us … especially for the closing Art in the Park event on Hilly Fields.” The Ladywell Assembly provided £2,500 for the event this year.
Moira thinks festival organisers might have to look at reducing the festival – to a weekend. But that might reduce sponsorship from local businesses.
They will also explore new sources of funding – crowdfunding “might work for one-off events” and bigger local businesses such as the supermarkets will be approached.
Brockley Max, says Moira, is all about showcasing local artists to local residents .. bringing the community closer together.
This year there were around 70 different acts attracting thousands of people.
“It will be a real pity if we don’t keep it going. We shall be looking at all the options. We will need some new sources of funding – no doubt about that.”