Last year’s event received around 10,000 visitors. :: A. B.
Marbella’s iconic International Art Festival due to take place next month has been cancelled after organisers pulled the plug on the event.
Billed as one of the most popular art festivals in southern Spain it used to attract up to 15,000 people each year.
But faced with rising costs, the festival is being re-branded as Arte Marbella International, which will take place at the Villa Padierna Palace from 31 October to 2 November.
Last June SUR in English reported how the festival was hit hard by the recession in 2011 and 2012.
Organiser Caroline Bowley told SUR in English then that just two weeks before last year’s event they were left ‘gobsmacked’ after the Town Hall asked for 10,000 euros to use the Avenida del Mar - something they didn’t have to pay in previous years.
After a crisis meeting with Marbella’s tourism councillor, Jose Luis Hernández, it was agreed they wouldn’t have to pay the last minute charge.
Following the move, Caroline launched a campaign to save the festival in SUR in English, by asking local businesses and art lovers to donate funds towards this year’s event.
However, in a statement released this week she said the new festival would attract a higher level of artists and will avoid the summer heat.
Caroline, who is originally from the Midlands, said: “I am truly excited with this new phase in the development of an annual and prestigious art fair in the Marbella area. This is a major undertaking and we are now actively inviting sponsors and associates to look at our plans.”
The Festival International de Arte Marbella was founded in 2009 by Caroline and her friend Pixie Glore with the support of the Town Hall.
Hoping to emulate the success of open air art festivals in America, the pair saw the project grow into one of the most important street art festivals in southern Spain.
The Town Hall initially supported the festival financially in 2009 and 2010, but then withdrew funding.
The free festival used to be held along the Avenida del Mar and in the Parque La Alameda opposite the Old Town, where art work including photography, sculptures and graffiti was displayed in tents by local and international artists.
In previous years the festival also featured live music, performances, children’s workshops and art house films.