Summer festival to remain free

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THE news that the Dumfries-based summer festival, Youth Beatz, is to remain free has been welcomed.

Dumfries and Galloway Council had proposed introducing a charge of up to £7.50 for the music gig, but a Labour group motion at last Thursday’s Nithsdale Area Committee mean tickets will remain free.

Nith ward councillor Colin Smyth said: “In these tough times, when the council is making cuts, we need to make sure every pound of the council’s money is well spent. Youth Beatz has been a tremendous success, bringing in more than £100,000 to the local economy, which means there is a strong financial case to keep it free.

“It was estimated that attendance numbers would fall from 12,000 to 9000 if we charged, which would severely hit the amount of extra spend brought into Dumfries.

“While there is an upfront cost to the council to run the festival, the overall impact to our town’s economy makes it worthwhile. I’m proud that all Labour councillors backed keeping this event free, even if other political groups were split.”

Fellow Nith ward councillor John Martin said: “As well as bringing money into the local economy, Youth Beatz has huge social value too. We all know that there isn’t enough for young people in Dumfries to do and too often they feel that the council doesn’t do anything for them.

“Youth Beatz showed them that the council can be relevant to them too, and that has a far wider positive effect on how young people view our town. “The gig also gives youngsters access to information on subjects that it can be difficult to get messages across about, such as drugs, alcohol and sexual awareness.”