Published on 12th April 2023

Max Wilkinson and Andy 'Dice' Davies with mural in the background

A long-term sustainable future for Cheltenham Paint Festival is being sought as part of a new partnership between the event’s organisers and the borough council.

Andy ‘Dice’ Davies met council officers and a cabinet member to discuss ways to ensure a sustainable financial future for the event for 2023 and beyond.

The meeting comes after Cheltenham residents stepped in with donations in excess of £15,000 to save this summer’s event following the shock announcement it would be cancelled.

The borough council is one of a number of organisations that has historically given financial support to the event, which was started and is run independently.

Andy Davies, Cheltenham Paint Festival organiser, said: “There are simply no words that can show how thankful I am to everyone who donated for their overwhelmingly positive responses. Their generosity and determination has made sure that we don’t miss out on another year and I want to personally thank everyone for their kind donations and messages of support.

“The paint festival holds a special place in my heart and I know it has touched many others too. This is why I’m excited to work closely with the council to look at other alternatives to safeguard the future of Cheltenham’s much loved festival.”

Cllr Max Wilkinson, cabinet for economic development, culture, tourism and wellbeing, Cheltenham Borough Council said: “It’s such good news that this year’s festival has been saved thanks to generous donors in the community – I’d like to thank everyone who chipped in.

“Our priority now must be to help the event become financially sustainable so we don’t end up with this uncertainty in future years.  We absolutely cannot allow the Paint Festival to die. We are a town rich in culture and the diversity it brings to our streets is valued by residents and visitors alike.”

The borough council is investigating solutions to give organisers the boost they need financially, in addition to how we and our partners could provide extra support with administration, logistics and other processes.

The matter has also been referred to Cheltenham Culture Board for potential inclusion on the board’s action plan. Arrangements about the new partnership with the Paint Festival are likely to be announced later in the year.

The paint festival is in its sixth year and has become popular with residents and tourists alike due to its striking murals painted by street artists from across the UK and further around the world.

Evidence also shows that street art deters antisocial behaviour such as graffiti and ‘tagging’.

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The Cheltenham Paint Festival debuted in 2017 to fill Cheltenham’s walls with life and colour and bolster Cheltenham’s reputation as the festival town.

Each year, the festival has attracted hundreds of visitors as leading national and international urban artists decorate the town with their spectacular street art; with many of the works remaining permanent fixtures that can be viewed year-round. 

Previous years has seen the paint festival play host to renowned names such as Snik, Lucas Antics, Inkie, Trust Icon, Fabio Patani and Samer among countless others. 

During lockdown 2020, artists were invited to put their designs virtually onto several of the town’s walls. However, due to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, the festival had to take a small break in 2021.