ARGYLL and Bute Council has expressed its disappointment after the organisers of one of the area's best-known music and arts festivals announced the event's cancellation.

The organisers of the Best of the West Festival (BOWFest), staged at Inveraray Castle, announced on Tuesday that it will not be staged in 2019.

They ascribed part of the blame to the local authority, stating Argyll and Bute Council had "withdrawn their financial assistance whilst providing significant funding to other similar events".

The event was one of several which applied to the council for a share of the authority's 2019/20 'strategic events and festivals budget', but was unsuccessful.

The festival had been due to take place in September.

A council spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that BOWFest will not go ahead this year. We provide funding where possible for events.

“However, it should be noted that our contribution to BOWFest has been low-level and on an ad-hoc basis, rather than as a key partner.

“Given ongoing cuts to our budgets, expectations of councils have to be realistic and events have to be commercially sustainable.

“We will continue to do everything possible to promote Argyll and Bute as a great place to live, work, visit and invest.”

The organisers of the festival applied for £11,000 from the council, but at a meeting last month, members of the authority's policy and resources committee approved officers' recommendation that the event should receive no council funds.

A note in the officers' report on the festival's application stated: "Expenditure shown to exceed income even with the ask to the council included, and therefore not one in terms of best practice to support."

Announcing the cancellation, the Duchess of Argyll said: “The reality is that we receive no government support and Argyll and Bute Council have withdrawn their financial assistance whilst providing significant funding to other similar events.

“Funding available from some local community sources has also been consistently denied despite the proven local interest and economic benefits.

“It is a huge regret that we can no longer deliver a family festival beneficial to the community in this part of Argyll but to bring a freshness and a continuity to this, or any event, requires support both financial and in kind.”

It is understood that the council supplied £2,500 annually towards a craft tent at the festival, which sold local food and craft produce.

It also made a £1,000 contribution towards a drinks reception, making a sum total of £3,500.

Addressing the policy and resources committee in December, head of economic development Fergus Murray said: “As members are aware, there is a limited pot available.

“The [total] amount requested is almost twice the amount of money we had available. The quality of applications received was very high and we had to turn down a significant number of good applications.

“We do not take the place into account as part of the criteria. It was a very robust process and took three days of officers’ time to go through.”

Helensburgh Winter Festival was the only Helensburgh and Lomond-based event to apply to the council for grant funding in 2019/20, and received the full £5,000 it requested.