Towersey Festival’s operators have announced that this year’s edition of the UK’s longest-running independent music festival will be the last, due to spiralling costs.

Originally founded by Denis Manners MBE in 1965, five years before Glastonbury’s  gates first opened, Towersey Festival will take place for the final time this year with a 60th anniversary edition staged on 23-26 August at Buckinghamshire’s Claydon Estate. Among the acts to play across the 10 stages at the 5,000-capacity festival are Billy Bragg and Seth Lakeman, female folk outfit The Staves, Scottish folk rock band Tide Lines and American singer-songwriter Pokey Lafarge.

Festival co-director’s Mary Hodson and Joe Heap, two of Manners’ grandchildren who now run the event, issued a statement in which they said, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we also deliver this message. Like so many other independent and grassroots festivals, Towersey is facing the very sad prospect of ending after this year’s festival, our 60th year.

“We have worked incredibly hard over the last few years to try to bring Towersey back to financial stability. The pandemic wiped all our back up and changed the face of festivals across the industry. Coming back from this and the economic challenges we’ve all felt since then has been all but impossible. Without investment partnerships or a fundamental change to the character of the festival, we have concluded that we will have to bow out after this year.

“We are proud of what we’ve achieved with Towersey and the massive contributions we’ve made over the years to charities, local causes, tourism, and emerging artists. More importantly, we believe festivals like Towersey are crucial for creating better communities and societies and for finding hope and humanity in an otherwise challenging world.

“We will continue to fight, and endeavour to find a way of continuing to realise the hopes and dreams of our grandparents and founders, but it will not be through Towersey Festival anymore.”

Towersey’s cancelation follows 40 other festivals being called off this year, with the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) calling for urgent government assistance to support the sector.

AIF CEP John Rostron said, “Towersy Festival is an institution in the UK’s independent festival sector. The fact that it has no choice but to make this year’s edition its last after 60 successful years demonstrates that even the most established events are struggling in the current climate. Very few festivals are immune to the pressures placed upon promoters due to unpredictable and high supply chain costs since Covid. We urge others to support festivals by visiting and asking their MP to reduce VAT on festival tickets sales for three years to save these essential events.”