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Love Festival is cancelled and Music Festival is 'under review'

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Beyonce at the 2008 Bermuda Music Festival.

The Bermuda Music Festival could be postponed next year as Government looks for ways to tighten its belt.Yesterday Tourism Minister Patrice Minors said the Bermuda Love Festival, due to take place in February 2011, had already been cancelled.Mrs Minors said: “All Ministers have a mandate to tighten and streamline our budgets. The decision of not continuing with the Bermuda Love Festival is being made primarily due to the challenging financial times we are currently experiencing.“As a Ministry, we simply cannot afford expenditures which do not provide us a good value of return on our investment.”Former Premier and Tourism Minister Ewart Brown started the Love Festival, held over Valentine's Day weekend, five years ago. The last event cost the taxpayer about $150,000 and brought in less than 100 tourists.Dr Brown maintained that the advertorials and exposure generated from the weekend in magazines such as the Robb Report outweighed the cost of the event.Regarding the Bermuda Music Festival Mrs Minors said it was currently under review, adding she is “not opposed to postponing” the event due to the financially challenging climate.She said the Ministry of Tourism was considering creating a signature event to showcase local artists instead. The event, she said, would ensure visitors experienced the “full flavour of the Island's culture and talent”.The Bermuda Music Festival has long been popular with locals but has not attracted many guests in recent years and this year was scaled down to give it a more “intimate” feel. Government provided an $800,000 sponsorship fee under a new funding format that differed from previous years.In 2009 the Department of Tourism spent $1.9 million on the festival, recouping $900,000 from ticket sales. Tourism officials said 383 tourists came to the Island for the event. In 2008 the event cost taxpayers $3 million to stage and attracted 1,500 visitors.

Star attraction: Lionel Richie calls to the crowd during the 2007 Bermuda Music Festival.