Wakefield music festival Long Division is set to end after 12 years.
The festival has previously hosted acts such as Billy Bragg, The Cribs, Asian Dub Foundation and The Fall, often attracting up to 4,000 festivalgoers each year. Long Division has also run an education programme alongside its annual festival, aiming to inspire young people in the West Yorkshire town to get involved in live music.
However, organisers have now said that 2023 will be the festival’s final year. Dean Freeman, Long Division founder and director, said the final festival would be “the culmination of 12 years of madness in Wakefield”.
“Long term, it’s just not financially viable for lots of reasons,” he told the BBC. “We didn’t want to compromise or dilute what we do and we also felt passionately that getting to write your own ending is perhaps something many festivals, shops, labels and bands don’t get to do.”
Freeman promised that the festival would “end on a massive high”.
More detail for the reasons behind the end of the festival were given on the official website. “It’s a long, twisting story but if we really hone in on the cause – it’s money. Brexit, Covid, The Cost Of Living Crisis – you all know how detrimental these things have been on our lives. Funding and sponsorship has faded and the festival was always heavily propped up by those things,” wrote Freeman.
“Long Division is expensive to put on because of where it takes place. The cost of hiring venues, technical equipment, the marketing to persuade people to come here. And we can’t change that. We’ve had to be so inventive just to keep our heads above the water but honestly we’ve run out of steam.
“Long Division isn’t just me. It’s a Board Of Directors and a great team. We’re sad that it has come to this but we’re not willing to dilute what Long Division Festival is.
“I’m really proud of what Long Division has done. All those artists who would not have come otherwise. The amazing audiences – local people and people coming on holiday to Wakey for the weekend. The amazing volunteers and team members over the years.”
He added: “It’s too sad these days; we see great shops, pubs and venues just disappear. And you never got to visit one last time. And bands split, and you never get to see them again. They just go.
“I didn’t want LD 2022 to have been the end and none of us knew. I want us to go out on our own terms. To write our own ending. And to end on a high. And we want you to be there as part of that. Maybe we’re idiots and we should have packed up at Christmas, but we’ve never taken the easy road.
“We don’t want this to be the end of Long Division as a whole. Our education work will continue, or other community work too. We’re massively thankful to those who continue to fund, sponsor and support us. Our mission is to energise grassroots culture, and we will still do that.
“But the time of Long Division Festival has come to an end, and we know that is the reason so many of you support us so passionately.”
Freeman went on to confirm that the final Long Division Festival will take place on June 10. The first batch of artists for the final line-up will be announced next week.
The festival previously turned to crowdfunding to secure its future after being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.