Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee will meet on Tuesday 19 March and be asked to agree funding of almost £70,000 to festivals and events in Dumfries and Galloway.

There are five successful applicants that Councillors will be asked to agree to fund for 2019/20. These are;
• Galloway Hills Rally (£10k)
• Halloween Project (£6k)
• Kirkcudbright Illuminaire (£7k)
• Stranraer Oyster Festival (£10k)
• Stranraer Skiffieworlds 19 (£17k)

Applicants were encouraged to apply in October last year, with the Events Partnership (made up of cross sector stakeholders) deciding on those who were successful at the end of January this year.

The Stranraer Skiffieworlds is an open water kayaking race that will be held in Loch Ryan over a week from 7 to 13 July. September will be a busy time in the West of the region, with the Galloway Hills Rally taking place on 13 and 14 September as well as the Oyster Festival in Stranraer from 13 to 15 September. Kirkcudbright Illuminaire takes place in mid-October (10 to 13) and will look to build on last year’s successful festival to be held in the Artist Town. The final event to be funded is the Halloween Project, which is a new initiative, that will look to use a disused town centre building in Dumfries and create a unique set of themed experiences. This event is also being funded by Creative Scotland to the tune of £34,450.

Members will also be asked to approve festivals that will be funded from a separate pot – the Regional Growth Events. These events will receive funding in each of the next three years;
• Annan Harbour Festival
• Castle Douglas Harvest Food Festival
• D-Lux Festival of Light
• Nithraid River Festival

Funding applications from this unique stream were received in good volume by the Council, with 16 organisations applying for funding. From this original list, seven were shortlisted for consideration, and the winning four festivals will receive their first year of funding in 2019/20, running onto year 2 (2020/21) and finally 2021/22 (year 3).

The report also provides Councillors with a general update on the event landscape in the region and cites the creation of a new website to focus and enhance the cultural facilities and major events that are available in the region as a key element of promotion for the forthcoming year. The website will not only promote our facilities to visitors but will look to link them in with the many festivals and events we’re holding on Dumfries and Galloway soil (and sea) this year. Also detailed in the report is the upcoming World Championship Ice Hockey tournament at Dumfries Ice Bowl. It will be the seventh World Championship to be held in the King Street facility in the last six years and will see Team GB battle it out for qualification against teams from across the globe.

Communities Committee Chairman, Councillor Andy Ferguson commented;
“This report gives a real flavour of the variety of festivals and events that will be taking place in the region this year, subject to my fellow Member’s approving it on 19 March. We’re supporting everything from Festivals of Lights to open water Kayaking, with some Oysters and Rallying thrown in for good measure. It really does demonstrate our commitment to both being an inclusive Council as well as building the local economy.”

Vice Chairman Councillor John Martin said ahead of the meeting;

“The report yet again shows that despite having to make really unprecedented budget decisions, our council continues to fund events and festivals that will bring people into the region. Not only are we supporting projects we know are winners like the Ice Hockey World Championships and the Galloway Hills Rally, we are investing in new events like the Kayaking. Our region will once again be the place to be for sports and culture in 2019, and beyond.”

You can view the report and others for the Communities Committee by visiting https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15143/Committee-meetings. Papers will go live on Tuesday 12 March.

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