THE group which came to the rescue of Ludlow Arts Festival has thrown in the towel after just two years.

Chris Davis, main festival organiser says it was not possible to make the showpiece event commercially viable and so the show won't go on in 2015.

Ludlow's member for Shropshire Council, Cllr Andy Boddington said the town was in shock, while secretary of the chamber of trade Tish Dockerty said stunned traders were rocked by the bombshell on Tuesday night. She said the town needed the festival.

In a statement Mr Davis said that following the demise of the previous festival in 2012, and despite two successful festivals in 2013 and 2014 which saw increased attendances, the level of support was insufficient. David Essex headlined in 2014, and Jools Holland, Paul Merton and 10cc were among the top acts in 2013. Last year an open air Shakespeare performance was staged – a festival fixture stretching back decades.

“It is with great regret that Ludlow Castle and Ludlow Arts Festival Ltd announce that they have decided not to stage an arts festival at the castle in 2015," he said.

“They have concluded the scale of events they wish to stage are not commercially viable for either party."

Mr Davis underlined the fact that the decision to call it a day was "very much a joint decision" between Tom Till of Powis Estates and Chris Davis and Chris Moreno for Ludlow Arts Festival Ltd.

Mr Davis was not available to comment further at the time of going to press.

But organisers of the Ludlow Fringe Festival have said their event will go ahead.

They are promising it will be bigger and better than ever.

Organiser Liz Hyder said: “The team would like to reassure the town the Fringe will definitely still be taking place next year. and "The dates for 2015 are already confirmed as Saturday, June 13 to Sunday, July 5."

Anita Bigsby, the founder of the Ludlow Fringe, is confident the event can bring high quality art and fun to the town and has called a public meeting to chart the way forward.

“We had a fantastic Fringe this year thanks to hard work and lots of effort from dozens of volunteers – huge thanks to all of them,” she said.

Mrs Dockerty praised the Fringe, but voiced her concern on behalf of traders following loss of the Arts Festival.

“There had been some rumours but it came as shock when it was confirmed that the festival would not be happen in its previous form.

“This is a great shame because it really seemed to be coming together. Ludlow is a resourceful town and we have a very strong fringe but need a main festival and hopefully there is time to try to do something although it would be smaller than in the past.”

Ludlow Brewery will host a public meeting about the 2015 Fringe on Thursday, October 30, at 7.30pm.