Wales has informed the European Brass Band Association that it will be unable to progress further with its expression of interest in hosting the 2020 European Championships in Cardiff.
It follows a meeting hosted by the Ty Cerdd organisation earlier this week in which interested parties, including two members of EBBA, were informed of the difficulties surrounding the current and short term future outlook of arts and government funding structures in Wales.
The meeting was also informed of the direct impact this has had on Ty Cerdd, the body which promotes amateur music making in Wales, which as a result has undergone extensive changes in its remit.
Earlier today (Sunday 22nd October), EBBA issued a short statement on its website to say that it had been informed that Ty Cerdd was 'unable to host' the event.
More detailed proposal
However, it transpires that the decision, agreed by all those taking part in the meeting, was that Wales would defer from progressing with its 'current expression of interest'.
Instead it would undertake to implement a much more detailed proposal to present to EBBA to hopefully secure official candidature to host the festival in 2024 or soon after.
4BR understands that at no point had Wales been granted, or was in the process of being granted by EBBA, a contract to host the 2020 event.
Instead, Wales has opted not to progress further with its current expression of interest, although it has also informed EBBA that in doing so, it noted the dialogue currently taking place between EBBA and representatives of the Municipality of Palanga Town over the decision to host the 2019 Championships in Montreux.
A copy of Ty Cerdd's letter to EBBA was also addressed to Sarunas Vaitkus, the Mayor of the Municipality of Palanga.
The letter, which has been seen by 4BR, is signed by Ty Cerdd Director Deborah Keyser, and confirms Wales' commitment and support to EBBA's aims and objectives and in 'playing a proactive role in fulfilling these in the years to come'.
It also noted the organisation's mission to 'promote the aesthetic and social values of brass banding throughout Europe', and recognised 'Lithuania's outstanding commitment to help achieve this by aiming to host the event in Palanga.'
It goes on to state: "In deferring our expression of interest, it was therefore the express desire of Wales to offer its proactive support to both parties (EBBA and Palnga) to help conciliate an effective outcome to enable Palanga to host the event in 2020, should both parties agree that this is practicable.
We feel a great affinity with Lithuania, its ambition and its love of music, and very much hope this move by Wales supports Palanga and EBBA to work together to the benefit to the whole of the European Brass Band movement."
The decision, agreed by all those taking part in the meeting (including two representatives from EBBA), was that Wales would defer from progressing with its 'current expression of interest'4BR
4BR understands that this support is aimed at helping achieve an equitable solution to the acoustic problem that formed the primary reason behind EBBA's initial decision to take the 2019 event to Montreux.
It also noted the recent conciliatory correspondence from EBBA to the Mayor of Palanga that stated its desire, "...to open the possibilities for Palanga to host the EBBC in the very near future."
That also proposed, '...Palanga investigates the design and feasibility of such a solution and that tests can be carried out with local bands before we appoint a prominent European band to perform at a further test event when the work is complete'.
The Ty Cerdd letter adds: "We'd like to offer any support we can to the Palanga organising committee — including potential sound testing by a prominent Welsh band, perhaps?"
Positive Palanga response
4BR understands that the letter has received a positive response from the Mayor of the Municipality of Palanga that noted the 'sincere letter', the respect they felt 'a reasoned decision' had shown, and their commitment to make this 'prestigious event' happen at the 'highest level'.