Artists, dancers, singers and performers from across the globe have backed calls for the council to reconsider a recommendation to cut funding to the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF).
Alexander Buskermolen, the general director of the Ricciotti Ensemble troupe from The Netherlands who played at this year’s festival, said Aberdeen City Council would be “very short-sighted” if it decided to withdraw its financial support for next year’s event.
The council’s education committee unanimously agreed last week to move towards cutting the authority’s around £150,000 a year contribution to the festival – which celebrated its 45th year this summer.
However, the council has instead pledged to invest £100,000 into other youth-orientated events across the city as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.
But Mr Buskermolen urged the authority to think again.
The 31-year-old, who first visited Aberdeen to play at the youth festival when he was 17 with the Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands, said: “The AIYF is a very diverse festival where a great number of very different cultures meet to share their love of music, performance and dance.
“It’s a very positive event, and I think it is something that should be cherished by politicians in Aberdeen.
“If they are thinking about cutting funding, I would say it would be very, very short-sighted.
“When I first came to Aberdeen, it was one of my first times leaving the country, and it left a huge impression on me – it inspired me to become a conductor myself, and it has been similarly inspirational to many, many other artists over the years.”
A spokesman for the group Jamaica Youth Theatre said: “AIYF 2017 was so great for myself and all the members of Jamaica Youth Theatre, from performing to meeting people from different cultures who had an enormous passion for theatre.
“It was a life-changing event.”
A final decision on whether or not the funding will be axed will be made at the council’s finance committee on December 1.