The U.K.'s inaugural Heavenly Planet Festival, scheduled for July 10 and 11 in Reading, has been canceled because of the impact of the recession.

Reading Borough Council and promoter Festival Republic announced today (March 17) that the world music event at the Thames Promenade had been pulled. Acts on the bill included Eliza Carthy, the Bays, the Fence Collective, Sharon Shannon Big Band, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and the Wonder Stuff.

The council, Festival Republic and former WOMAD festival artistic director Thomas Brooman - the joint organizers of the festival - decided last month that it would be a free event. However, the worsening economic climate meant that Brooman has been unable to commit to funding the event, prompting the council and Festival Republic to cancel.

"The worsening economic crisis and circumstances beyond our control have been major factors in the final decision," said Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, in a statement.

Graeme Hoskin, lead councillor for culture and sport at Reading Borough Council, said the authority was unable to put additional money into the event given the economic pressures.

It was also confirmed that the event will not be launched in 2010, but that Benn and the council will "monitor the recession and any economic recovery with a view to planning for possible festivals in future years," according to a statement.

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