Tyne & Wear

Sunderland Split Festival axed over lack of funding

Dizzee rascal
Image caption Rapper Dizzee Rascal headlined Split Festival in 2014 along with The Cribs and Maximo Park

One of north-east England's major music festivals has been axed through lack of funding.

The Split Festival had been held in Sunderland since 2009, featuring acts like Dizzee Rascal, The Charlatans and local band The Futureheads.

But organisers have announced they will be unable to go ahead with a festival this year.

The announcement comes a day after Sunderland launched its bid to become UK City of Culture.

Image caption Split was co-organised by The Futureheads, with member Ross Millard (far left) saying the festival had failed to recoup enough money to cover the cost of booking acts

Futureheads star and Split co-organiser Ross Millard said: "With the rise of the internet record sales have fallen, to cover this loss of revenue artists' agents are asking for significantly higher fees for live performances and many festivals are finding this unsustainable.

"We have spent as much as £140,000 per year on booking the bands but we haven't been able to recoup those fees in ticket sales and other revenue."

Other groups to have performed at Split include Maximo Park, The Cribs and Public Image Ltd.

Split's Rob Deverson said: "We are so proud of what we have achieved, but ultimately the economics of live music events has left us unable to see how the event can continue."

Earlier this week, Sunderland City Council backed plans for a bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021, citing its efforts to promote arts and culture.

Image caption Newcastle-based Maximo Park were one of the main events at last year's Split Festival in Sunderland

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