Festival Season Gets Underway in Beautiful Dumfries and Galloway

 A superb season of art, craft, literature, music, theatre, comedy and more is getting underway in Dumfries and Galloway.

Some of south-west Scotland’s leading cultural organisations have come together to offer a glimpse of what’s in store for visitors in the months ahead.

Young musicians, who will be playing during the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, mingled with models dressed in some of the exquisite textiles available at Spring Fling – Scotland’s premier visual art and craft open studios event.

They were gathered (along with some mystery masked performers) at the historic Moat Brae House in Dumfries, which is the venue for a weekend of activities staged by Spring Fling, the Arts Festival and the Wigtown Book Festival.

Clare Hanna, Director (maternity cover) for Upland, which runs Spring Fling, said: “It’s going to be an amazing time for events and festivals in Dumfries and Galloway – and it all starts this month with Spring Fling and the Arts Festival.

“What always takes people by surprise is that a rural region like ours can offer everything from visual arts and craft, through to comedy, music, theatre and literature.

“Dumfries and Galloway has a growing reputation as a powerhouse for the arts and cultural activities and we are really looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the UK and far beyond throughout the year.”

Spring Fling, the Arts Festival and the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust all receive significant funding from Dumfries and Galloway Council, which sees the arts and culture as having a vital role in the community and making an essential contribution to the economy.

Councillor Colin Smyth, the council’s Events Champion, said: “There is a wonderful array of things to see and do in Dumfries and Galloway this May. The Council’s tailored investment in superb events and dynamic cultural organisations is synergetic with the creative talents of many event organisers, artists and performers. As a result, great events are flourishing and moving forward with confidence and the council is committed to our partnership with the major events of the region.”

Moat Brae House and Gardens in Dumfries is the Birthplace of Peter Pan – the ‘enchanted land’ and childhood playground that inspired JM Barrie’s legendary story. It is currently being restored and turned into a national centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling and is already a significant venue for arts-related activities.

The house provides superb opportunities for arts and cultural activities to take place in the heart of Dumfries and a space where they can host joint events.

Cathy Agnew, Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust Project Director said: “We’re delighted to be able to work in partnership with so many different organisations even before the new centre opens at Moat Brae.  We are continually developing creative opportunities across the region and this weekend is a great example of that. ”

During the Spring Fling weekend, from 20-30 May, visitors will be able to see an exhibition of paintings by the renowned abstract artist Bea Last. In the evenings there will be a book event with Edward Hollis, author of The Secret Lives of Buildings, which is being staged by Wigtown Book Festival and Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival.

Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival producer, Lou Davies, said: “The festival has always enjoyed a long association with the region’s arts organisations and each year we include a number of collaborations in our programme.

“For 2016, we are delighted to be putting on two events with Spring Fling and the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust and these include an amazing outdoor dance performance along Spring Fling’s Purple and Pink routes and an exciting lecture series by Edward Hollis, both taking place over the May bank holiday weekend.

“This year’s festival kicks off on 20 May with an opera at the Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries and will run for 10 days at venues across the region.

“Twenty sixteen sees our biggest and most ambitious festival to date with over 200 artists performing in 45 venues throughout the region and we are proud to say there really is something for everyone.”

Dumfries and Galloway is also exceptionally beautiful, with small towns and villages nestled in rolling hills and surrounded by a long coastline beaches and rugged cliffs – making it a super short break destination.

Many of the events and festivals in Dumfries and Galloway work in close collaboration. This year Spring Fling will have an artist in residence at the Wigtown Book Festival and poet Skye Loneragan will be the writer in residence at Spring Fling.

pictures by Colin Hattersley


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