The organisers of Hackney WickED Art Festival have announced that it will not go ahead this year due to the increasing costs associated with staging the East London event.

A statement from the Hackney WickED Community Interest Company said: “The festival faces ever-increasing production costs that are necessary to manage the event in line with requests from authorities and our own desire to present a safe, professional event.

“Thousands of pounds has previously been spent on waste disposal, security, street cleaning and the general infrastructure required to manage the 30,000-plus crowds that attend the festival each year.

“Hackney WickED greatly appreciates the sponsorship and funding received to date, however, the festival still has to rely heavily on in-kind support from suppliers, the management team and a volunteer network and this is no longer sustainable for an event of this scale.”

Launched in 2008, the annual festival began life as a response to the London 2012 Olympics and the redevelopment of the area, which threatened the demolition of local art spaces.

The festival programme has provided a platform for local artists to develop and present work, with last year’s event described as ‘part street festival, part open studio bonanza and part curated contemporary art exhibition’.

Taking over the area’s warehouse spaces, street corners and yards throughout The Wick and Fish Island area, last year was the festival’s sixth edition – it took a year off in 2012 due to the Olympics.

Speaking prior to the August 2014 event, artist and festival patron Gavin Turk said: “What people don’t realise about Hackney WickED Art Festival is the honesty of the festival; it is made from the energy of the artists… It really is quite different to any other festivals that people will have gone to.”

Sustainable future

While the 2015 festival has been called off, this is not the end of Hackney WickED. “Hackney WickED CIC will continue to evolve as an organisation by working to create a sustainable future that will endeavor to support the network of artists in the area,” said the festival’s organisers.

“Hackney WickED aspires to create more art events across London and further afield, collaborating with other artist communities and organisations around the world.

“In this current phase of organisation development, Hackney WickED CIC has been awarded further Arts Council funding, to conduct research in order to ascertain the value of Hackney WickED to the area by getting as much feedback as possible from the artist community, local businesses and visitors to help map the future trajectory of the events and organisation.”

A year-round programme of small art events are planned including art exhibitions, open studios, performance and film. “It is an exciting time in the evolution of Hackney WickED as an art organisation. Although the free-natured spirit, spontaneity and self-expression of the festival will be missed, it is time for the organisation to re-evaluate and adapt to the changing nature of Hackney Wick.”

The organisation is inviting feedback from visitors to the festival via an online survey. The deadline for responses is Friday 1 May.

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