Wimborne Folk Festival could be cancelled next year if vital council funding is cut.

The famous annual event, which celebrated its 30th birthday in July, made a loss of just under £3,000 this year and will struggle to go ahead if local government money doesn’t come through.

Dance organisers Brian and Maria Bisp, who have been running the popular weekend since it began, are anxiously waiting to hear if their grant bids to East Dorset District Council, Wimborne Town Council and Waitrose have been successful.

Maria said: “It’s common knowledge that we’re struggling.

“With things like this, if you don’t do it for one year, there’s no going back.”

In previous years, letters to Wimborne traders asking for donations only attracted a two per cent response. Organisers also ask for advertising for the festival programme, and sales from this help to boost funds.

Even with street collections, it’s difficult to cover costs.

Dancers and musicians, who perform for free, are already asking about arrangements for 2011, and new groups are showing interest.

“People give up their time and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes,” Maria added.

“It all helps to put Wimborne on the map and puts money into many traders’ pockets.

“Our feeling is that we bring a lot of visitors to Wimborne, and not only over the festival weekend. Many come back because they realise what a lovely town it is, and want to return when it’s quieter to have a good look around.

“Ultimately it’s the traders who will lose out.

“But if they’re not going to try and help us save the festival now, they never will.”

Now the High Street is fully restored after the fire of 2009, Maria would love to see the festival back to its full size.

“We’ll know imminently,” she said.

Daily Echo reader Janice Holden, from Bournemouth, is among those urging benefactors to prevent the festival becoming the next casualty of the recession.

She said: “I am appalled and saddened at the thought of the demise of one of Wimborne’s few great traditions.

“This heritage event must go ahead if only to continue Wimborne’s financial success in the tourism market.

“In these grey times, we need to continue with the colour of Wimborne Folk Festival.”