D&G Council Flying The Flag in Support Of Arts Festival

Dumfries and Galloway Council is flying the flag for another year for Scotland’s largest rural performing arts festival.

Since it was established in 1979, the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival has earned a reputation for excellence in bringing ground-breaking live performances of the highest quality in theatre, music, dance, comedy and the spoken word to the region for 10 days at the end of May.

This year the festival is rolling out its most extensive programme so far, with 78 performing arts events in 42 venues covering the entire region.

Director of Communities, Derek Crichton, said: “The 2017 Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival programme is as eclectic, innovative and thought-provoking as ever. 
“There is a treasure trove of events to explore within the Festival this year, which is a wonderful advert for Dumfries and Galloway.”

As part of its Major Festivals and Events Strategy 2014-2018, Dumfries and Galloway Council awarded the festival £75,000 for three years which has not only allowed the organisation to develop and grow its programme and audiences, but has also supported the festival’s positive impact on the regional economy.

Mr Crichton added: “The council’s funding during the period of the Major Festivals and Events Strategy 2014-2018 has been used to great effect by the Arts Festival team to build its cultural and economic impacts, which are considerable.”
Programme director Peter Renwick said: “Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival has been the beneficiary of support through Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Major Festivals and Events Strategy for a number of years. We are pleased to continue to be recognised as a signature event in the programme. This support has provided the stable basis that has enabled us to plan, deliver and grow the festival.
“It has been this clear demonstration of local authority support that has helped secure the investment required to deliver our programme.
“With the help of the Major Festivals and Events Strategy, we have doubled our audiences over two years and invested in a region-wide far-reaching programme of affordable, high-quality and culturally important performing arts events.
“More and more people are supporting the arts in this region and this was demonstrated last year by the large number of sell-out shows and full houses during the festival.
“We are also aware from feedback that people coming to our shows recognise the quality of our programme and view the events as emotionally engaging experiences that have clear cultural and community benefits.”
Festival chair Ken Gouge said: “The three-year funding support through the council’s Major Festivals and Events Strategy has been used to support two full-time and two part-time jobs for local people and has had an annual net positive economic impact on the region nearing £250,000.
“Ticket income and audiences increased significantly over two years, with audience numbers for 2016 up by 38 per cent on 2015 and 103 per cent on 2014. Ticket income also saw a significant increase in 2016 and we were 44 per cent up on 2015 figures and 131 per cent on 2014. There was a significant increase in audience numbers in Wigtownshire and audience members from outside the region increased by a massive 250 per cent.
“We are all really excited about this year’s festival. With audiences growing year on year we are expecting our most successful festival in our history.
“Our festival covers the whole region and will be providing fantastic opportunities for people to attend performances by internationally renowned artists and the very best of our wonderful local talent. There is certainly something for everyone in this year’s programme.”

The Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival takes place between Friday, 26 May to Sunday, 4 June and will deliver a 10-day showcase of world class performing arts in venues across the region.

Highlights this year include concerts by Karine Polwart, Blazin’ Fiddles, Scottish Ensemble, Mairi Campbell, Bellevue Rendezvous, the Daleian Singers, Lizanne Knott, the Tinderbox Orchestra; highly acclaimed theatre with Paines Plough, Emily Carding and Alan Bissett; and comedy with Mark Nelson, Micky Bartlett and Ruth E Cockburn; as well as a whole lot more.

For tickets, a full programme of events and further information, visit www.dgartsfestival.org.uk