Dumfries and Galloway is home to the best, most eclectic programme of festivals and events in rural Scotland.
That is the bold claim of the Council and the regional events sector after the Local Authority announced £339,000 of funding awards to major events projects.
A truly vibrant range of cultural and sporting events are to be funded by the Council through its Major Festivals and Events Strategy.
The Wigtown Book Festival and Spring Fling will each receive two year funding awards of £65,000 in total, to provide the financial backing necessary to support these world class events.
Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival is to receive £45,000 over the same two year period to help its development as a region wide cultural extravaganza.
The council has set aside £45,000 to bring back the Tour of Britain to the region in September 2016 and is actively pursuing the opportunity to host World Championship Ice Hockey at the elite Under 20s level for December 2015.
Councillor Colin Smyth, the Council’s Events Champion said, ‘There is no hyperbole, no exaggeration involved in stating clearly that Dumfries and Galloway’s Festivals and Events are the best in rural Scotland.
“That is down to the creativity and hard work of festival organisers and champions and the sustained programme of funding that the council has put in place over a decade. We also need to pay tribute to agencies such as EventScotland, the Holywood Trust and CreativeScotland that also part fund our superb major events. Together we are all making a positive difference.
“Our festivals and events really add to the quality of life in our beautiful region, and the funding the council has announced today will create so many sporting and cultural highlights in 2015 and 2016, beginning with the Women’s World Championship Ice Hockey at Dumfries Ice Bowl from March 30 to April 5.”
The funding announcement was made in the month that the Big Burns Supper, the council’s designated Beacon Event for growth, reported that it had doubled its ticket sales in 2015.
The council also reported in February that the three championship car rallies in Dumfries and Galloway contributed £591,112 to the regional economy in 2015.
Cathy Agnew Chair of Trustees of DG Unlimited, the independent charity which champions the arts in our region, said: “Thanks to this investment it looks like there will be a fantastic line-up of festivals and events for residents and visitors to enjoy.
“Our region is earning a well-deserved reputation nationally and overseas as a place to come and enjoy some of the best, most colourful and creative events and festivals in rural Scotland.
“This would simply not be possible without this kind of public backing for the sheer hard work put in by the organisers.”
Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland said, “We have a fantastic relationship with Dumfries and Galloway Council and it is great to see an ongoing commitment to events investment in the coming years.
“Events play a significant role in driving domestic tourism, which in turn injects money into the local economy. We look forward to working together again on some major projects in 2015 and 2016, which will undoubtedly bring visitors into the area.”
The Council will ring-fence £45,000 for the Tour of Britain in Dumfries and Galloway in 2016 and £15,000 for World Championship Ice Hockey at Dumfries Ice Bowl, December 2015.
The Council co-manages these respective world class events.
£19,000 of events funding will be used to take forward a range of other projects including joint work between the car rallies of the region, a study into the future growth prospects and prospective impacts of the Wickerman Festival and the attraction of a European Curling Event to Dumfries.
The region’s Major Festivals and Events Strategy is unique within Scotland and runs until the end of 2016/17.