A week of storytelling, literature, riverside walks, creative activities, and fantastic opportunities to have a gander at geese as they fly over Dumfries.
Held in Dumfries and surrounding areas, the festival, uses the migratory route of the Barnacle Geese between Svalbard and the Solway Estuary to join people, nature, and ideas.
The week-long festival runs from 16th – 23rd October, and unites art, literature, culture, community, and nature through a series of activities from interactive storytelling and nature walks to conversations and creative events.
The festival celebrates both the inspirational journey undertaken by the geese and our deep connection with the natural world. Offering a family-friendly programme focusing on engagement with nature, the festival aims to highlight the important connection we have with the environment we live in.
Supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council and forming part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2021, supported by TRACS – Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland and Visit Scotland, the festival is in its second year and is fast becoming a staple in the Scottish eco-festival, literary and storytelling calendar.
Produced by The Stove Network, Wild Goose Festival unites key partners in a family-friendly exploration of nature, creativity and place – WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, NatureScot (SNH), Moat Brae Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, University of Glasgow, PAMIS (Promoting a More Inclusive Society), RSPB Mersehead, Solway Firth Partnership, LiftD&G, Wigton Festival Company, Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership,
Of this year’s festival, Tom Pow says:
“This year’s WGF offers a wider range of opportunities for taking joy in the natural world and reflecting on it. The concerns of COP26 will of course play through the festival, in its storytelling, literary, visual and children’s events – and in its 53,000 delegates to COP26, the geese themselves.”
More about Wild Goose Festival 2021
Wild Goose Festival 2021 launches on Saturday 16th October at a special event, ‘Wild Goose Craic,’ an evening of storytelling, music, and song, featuring the renowned storyteller Ruth Kilpatrick and local musical favourites Bogle Mufty.
Also on launch day is an opportunity to participate in the Big Beach Clean at Mersehead, where the whole family an become detectives and track down the source of debris and discover more about the wildlife living there.
The launch weekend activity continues early on Sunday 17th with a unique opportunity to watch thousands of Svalbard barnacle geese flying against the dawn sky over the WWT Caerlaverock reserve, plus you can get involved in the important scientific work being carried out by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) at a series of accessible training workshops. In the evening at RSPB Mersehead, you’ll have the chance to take a guided walk along the shoreline and witness a spectacular sight as thousands of geese fly into roost for the night.
There is a plethora of activity on Monday 18 th October. The Wild Goose Festival Hub on Dumfries Highstreet will be hosting a series of fun and creative workshops. You can join Freelance Ranger, Elizabeth Tindal to discover why feathers are so important to birds and get creative by crafting your own feather artwork, plus get involved with the NatureScot teams family event. Enjoy making your own string art, inspired by the journey the geese make every year, and down at WWT Caerlaverock you can join the Warden on an educational tour of the reserve. In the evening you can experience live poetry from Tom Pow and artwork by Hugh Bryden in The Stove Café.
Throughout the week, local sculptor, Geoff Forrest, will be demonstrating sculping with willow at the WWT Caerlaverock reserve and the Festival Hub will be showcasing an exhibition of artwork inspired by the migratory route of barnacle geese, climate change and our environment. Each day during the festival the team at RSPB Mersehead will be hosting a kid’s story trail where you’ll track down clues and discover more about the geese and their incredible story.
On Tuesday 19th October it’s all about literature, storytelling, and discovery. At Moat Brae, Join Bertrada, the Story Mother, and a whole host of Story-Weavers for an afternoon of drop-in storytelling and performance in a fun and child-friendly celebration of migration, nature, and the power of story.
For those kids who want to create their own story, join Master Storyteller and children’s author, Tony Bonning for a creative writing workshop at the Festival Hub. A journey of discovery awaits those looking for an adventure, join Cycling Dumfries on a nature spotting cycle ride or uncover new literary works at The Stove Cafe who’ll be hosting a special preview of two new books about life on the river.
The half-way point of the festival sees narrative jewellery artist Leanne Bradwick host a creative jewellery making workshop, and Dr David Borthwick will help you hone your creative writing skills, incorporating a watching and listening exercise at WWT Caerlaverock Reserve. Also on Wednesday 20 th October, Esther Woolfson, author of ‘Field Notes from a Hidden City’ and ‘Between Light and Storm – How We Live with Other Species’ and Poet and artist, Alec Finlay will host an online conversation discussing urban nature. Wednesday’s activities end with a unique evening of science and story, featuring talks from Dr Larry Griffin and Professor Brian Huntley plus performances from the Story-Weavers of Moat Brae.
Thursday kicks off with a kid’s printmaking workshop at the festival hub followed by an afternoon at RSPB Mersehead for a guided walk and watch where you can discover how farming practices have changed to help geese and other wildlife on the wetlands and farmland.
The penultimate day of Wild Goose Festival 2021 is packed with activity from optics demonstrations at WWT Caerlaverock to a relaxing evening of drawing for enjoyment in the Festival Hub on Dumfries High Street and culminating with a guided walk with the teams from NatureScot and WWT
Caerlaverock up Wardlaw Hill, an ancient fort, where you’ll watch the sunset and see the geese flying overhead.
On the final day of the festival, you can enjoy walks in Dumfries, learning about the historical riverfront fairs and the people who create them, and a nature walk down the banks of the river Nith, learning about the wildlife that lives right on our doorstep on the heart of town. Both guided walks are BSL interpreted.
The festival concludes with a special finale evening presented by Creative Spaces. Expect a multisensory experience crafted by the Stove’s emerging artist programme in collaboration with Luke Winter of Stories for Strangers.
For full programme details, times, locations and tickets, please head here: www.thestove.org/wildgoose-festival
Please note: The capacity and tickets that will be available will be directly in line with government advice at the given time.
Wild Goose Festival 2021 is supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council, Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF), Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS), Wigtown Festival Company, Galloway Glens, Glasgow University, LIFT D&G, Moat Brae, NatureScot, PAMIS, RSPB, Solway Firth Partnership, Visit Scotland and WWT Caerlaverock.