THE organisers of The Big Chill have announced there are “no plans” for the festival to return this year.

A spokesman for Festival Republic, which has organised the event at Eastnor Castle Deer Park, near Ledbury, since 2010, said: "There are currently no plans for The Big Chill to return in 2013."

Last summer's event was cancelled in January 2012, with a clash with the London Olympics, a lack of an alternative date and poor artist availability blamed for the cancellation.

In July, Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, said he was looking into options to bring the festival back to the site this year.

Eastnor Castle general manager David Littlewood said they expected the announcement and were looking at staging alternative events, while negotiations with the organisers would continue.

“We have been in discussions with Festival Republic and Melvin Benn for some time, so it’s not a surprise to us but it is a loss for us and the whole of Herefordshire.

“It put Herefordshire and Ledbury on the map, and I know a lot of shops did well from it.”

He added: “I don’t know their full reasons why, but I know any new festivals are not starting up as it’s a saturated market and because of the recession.”

Ledbury town councillor Annette Crowe, who is also of the Traders of Ledbury Association, said: “It’s a huge disappointment for the town and for a lot of traders. As it seemed so successful in previous years I expected it to return this year.

“It could just be the sign of the times - the recession is kicking in and it costs and awful lot of money.”

The Big Chill was first held in 1994 and has been at Eastnor for more than a decade. Last year’s festival was headlined by The Chemical Brothers and Kanye West with performances from the likes of Jessie J and Katy B.

Festival Republic also runs the Reading and Leeds festivals, Latitude, Electric Picnic, Hove Festival and Berlin Festival.

This follows the announcement Eastnor would no longer host the Mountain Mayhem endurance biking challenge, with the event’s organisers saying its 16th year would take place at an as yet unnamed venue.