MONTHS of nail-biting tension are over for organisers of Devizes carnival after they were told that an Arts Council grant of more than £87,000 has been secured.

Earlier this year Loz Samuels the artistic director of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts spoke candidly to the Gazette about her fears that this year's carnival might not go-ahead if funding was refused.

But now it can be all systems go for the carnival which this year has been moved forward to July 13 and the International Street Festival can go-ahead.

She said: "It’s been a week of great news for DOCA this week as they heard from The Arts Council England that they will be awarded £87,725 towards carnival and the festival fortnight.

"The Devizes Area Board also committed to contributing £3,978 towards developing the carnival through workshops available to schools and young people’s groups.

"This is in addition to significant annual support from Devizes Town Council. Thanks should also be given to everyone involved with the recent Winter Ales Festival, which has generated a further £4,500 for DOCA."

This year will be the 20th anniversary of the street festival and the grant will pay for performers to visit from all over the UK and Europe, along with specially created work for the Confetti Battle which this year will move to a Saturday and be held on August 31.

It will also help pay for a special birthday edition of Picnic In The Park on August 18.

But fundraising will continue as part of DOCA's agreement with the Arts Council it must raise other money of its own.

Ms Samuels said: "We are particularly looking for businesses to get behind the carnival both as participants and as sponsors.

“I am so excited that the Arts Council has continued to support us, it is becoming more competitive to attract this kind of investment for organisations like us, demonstrating that our work is evolving and innovative is helping us stay in the funding spotlight.

"This funding is essential for us to keep developing the organisation and all of our events, we are now in a position to take on two part time members of staff that will bring valuable skills to the area.

"The Area Board has also made it possible for us to take artists into schools to teach making skills that will hopefully see an extra special edition of Carnival this year with the theme Through the Ages. We are seeking schools to work with now and would be keen to hear from those wishing to benefit from this work.”

Carnival entries are now open on line and entries for Colour Rush to be held before the Confetti Battle can be made in the same way.