Organisers of the new Marlborough Festival are asking people to donate £10,000 upfront so that they can plan the ambitious event - which they admit may not even happen unless Wiltshire Council reverses a decision not to allow the High Street to be closed for it.

The organisers of the new festival, which aims to be much bigger than the old jazz festival that it is set to replace, have launched a Crowdfunder campaign to finance the development of the three-day event planned for July of 2023.

But to stage the event they must get Wiltshire Council to do a U-turn – as the long-running Marlborough International Jazz Festival ended in 2017 because the council would not permit the High Street to be closed to traffic for it.

Back in 2016 the county council came under pressure from a then-existing group of around 70 High Street traders – the Marlborough High Street Retailers Association – who fought the road closure as it cost them money through loss of trade.

A number of Marlborough businesses, who have refused to be named, have told this newspaper that they do not want the High Street to be closed for the new festival. They point to a 2014 survey of retailers about the effect on trade of the Jazz Festival in which it was reported that businesses suffered a loss of 20-25 per cent in trade, with one claiming takings were down by 50 per cent as a result of the street closure.

But Sandra Bhatia, who is organising the new festival with fellow Marlborough resident Luke Jackson, said the new event could not happen without the street closure.

She said: “The festival will be dependent on the High Street closure, along with fundraising, and general appetite and support from the community”.

Ms Bhatia added: “From the conversations we have had we are hoping that Wiltshire Council may be more supportive this time around.”

Ms Bhatia said that she hoped a need for a regeneration of the High Street, the employment of a production company known to the council, and a robust plan detailing the benefits to the town of the festival would convince Wiltshire councillors to permit a road closure.

But she added: “But I am a realist, if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen, we can only try our best.”

The Crowdfunder deadline for raising the £10,000 planning money is April 4, but already £1,355 has been donated by five supporters.

The new festival stands to be significantly more than a comeback for the Marlborough International Jazz Festival. Organisers are planning not just jazz but an event featuring all forms of music and this enlarged music festival will run in tandem with a food and drink festival, a literary festival and a performing arts festival.

The organisers are also promising that famous bands will headline the music bill for the event which is being staged because they say “there is a need to rejuvenate Marlborough in the aftermath of Covid”.

Already at least 25 businesses in Marlborough - including Waitrose, Rick Stein, The Parade Cinema, The Lamb, the Whitehorse Book Shop, The Food Gallery, Hampton estate agents, LK Matthews hairdressers, The Wellington and Pino’s ristorante - have pledged to support the festival. On its Crowdfunder page many local businesses have contributed to a promotion video, all quoting the slogan “we support the Marlborough Festival and we hope you do too”.

Earlier reports that Marlborough Town Council is supporting the festival were premature. A council spokesman said: “This news came out of the blue to me. I am not aware of any recent decision by the town council in support, or not in support of the Marlborough Festival.”

Wiltshire Council said it could not comment as it has yet to receive any application for road closure in relation to the Marlborough Festival.

To donate to the Crowdfunder go or