Council Gives £270,000 Funding to Support Over 35 Festivals and Events

Dumfries and Galloway Council has announced £270,000 of funding for more than 35 festivals and events across Dumfries and Galloway.

Dumfries and Galloway has become a renowned events destination and the council is committed to supporting events organisers take forward their projects. The funding is believed to be the most any rural council in Scotland is committing to developing their events sector this year. The funding was awarded at the Communities Committee of the local authority this week.

The £270,000 of funding will support major events in 2024 such as the Wigtown Book Festival, the Stranraer Oyster Festival, Spring Fling, the Arts Festival and many other superb initiatives. There are high hopes within the council that another World Championship Ice Hockey tournament can be attracted back to Dumfries soon, and that the Gralloch Gravel Cycling World Cup that is being held for the second time in Gatehouse this May 18, can become the most important annual gravel cycling race in Europe.
The Wild Goose Festival in October and Music at the Multiverse in September, both of which have grown sustainably in recent years and developed their profiles, have seen an increase in their grant awards.

Twenty four grant awards are being made to applicant organisations to the council’s Regional Events Growth Fund, a new Fund set up to support festivals and events with the potential to grow and attract visitors from across Dumfries and Galloway. The council is delighted with the response to this new Fund and believes it is helping to lay down the foundations for dozens of successful festivals and events in the region for years to come.

Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee said, “The Council is making a significant investment in our region’s festivals and events due to their contribution to the community, cultural and sporting life of our region. Across Dumfries and Galloway there are superb events that are working closely with businesses and tourism agencies to bring in thousands of visitors to our region and delighting local people with their programmes. The council’s Events Strategy 2023-2027 is being fully delivered and creating tangible results for the regional economy.”
Councillor Jackie McCamon, the Vice Chair of the Communities Committee said, “There will be something for everyone in the festivals funding we are providing this year. Whether you love getting out to our forests to see the Scottish Rally live or live for ice hockey, if you love seeing authors you admire at the Wigtown Book Festival or enjoy the buzz and cookery demonstrations of the Oyster Festival, the council’s events grants will sustain and develop events that our population and visitors support in great numbers.”


A review of the collated reports and studies related to the Major Festivals and Events Strategy 18-22 in the first two years of its operations demonstrated that the Strategy safeguarded or generated £16.355m for the regional economy. This new and additional income for the economy was leveraged by Council spending of £550k.
This is a ratio of 30:1 – for every £1 of Council expenditure £30 is generated in the regional economy.

In the lifecycle of the last Strategy, several exceptional events started up or were hosted in Dumfries and Galloway. These include the Stranraer Oyster Festival and the Raiders Gravel Festival. The World Coastal Rowing Championships took place in Stranraer in 2019 (Skiffieworlds), which generated £2m for the local economy, and the Council facilitated the delivery of British Cycling’s UK National Road Championships in June 2022. The Galloway Hoard Exhibition took place at the Kirkcudbright Galleries from October 2021 to July 2022, and attracted more than 40,000 visitors. The events sector and individual festivals and events remained intact, despite the severe disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. For this reason, the new Strategy evolves from, rather than replaces the MFES 18-22, and balances economic development with community wellbeing actions.

The key actions in the new strategy are;
• Continued support for the 7 Signature Events who will receive up to 60% of the annual Strategy budget
• One or two new Signature Event/s to be identified by 2024
• The Tour of Britain to be attracted back to the region
• The Community Events Fund to operate until 2024/25 and the Major Events Fund to operate annually until 2027
• The Council to commission the UK’s first Greener Events Toolkit
• The Council to co-host the UCI World Para-cycling Championships in August 2023
• All events projects seeking funding will require to demonstrate how they are making their festivals and events accessible and affordable for local people during the cost of living crisis