SCOTLAND’S largest rural multi-artform festival is looking for partners to expand its annual programme in western Galloway.
The move comes after Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival ended its 10-year partnership with West Fest, Wigtownshire’s equivalent of the festival. West Fest decided to call it a day this year and will no longer be supporting events in the west of the region.
Established in 1979, the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival ran a 10-day programme of events across the region from Langholm to Stranraer.
In 2004, organisers of West Fest separated from the festival and took on responsibility for programming in Wigtownshire and went on to hold well-attended arts events each year.
Funding issues and a lack of volunteer support has forced the West Fest committee to wind-up the operation. With council support and the current West Fest committee, however, the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival has developed a new programme of events for this year and is seeking new partnerships to expand its Wigtownshire arts programme.
Arts Festival programme director, Peter Renwick, said: “For the first time in 10 years we have extended our programme into the west of the region.
“It is vital, wherever we programme, that we work with local partners who can help support events, identify acts they think will work in the area and help build audiences. We typically work with volunteers who run venues and village halls, represent community groups or are active promoters of the arts.
“We should welcome anyone who’s willing to pull together ideas for events and performances in Wigtownshire during the festival and urge them to get in contact.
Pam Pumphrey, chair of Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival said: “We see this as the start of a long-term partnership. We have been delighted with the support we have had from many Wigtownshire-based organisations in the pasts, with special mention to Sid Ambrose, Wigtownshire Arts Hub convener; Stranraer Music Town; Bladnoch Distillery; The Swallow Theatre; Wigtown Book sellers; Newton Stewart Cinema and The Ryan Centre, Stranraer.”
The Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival takes place between May 16 to 25. This year’s highlights in the west of the region include a performance by the Wriggly Sisters at Bladnoch; Outside Track at the Ryan Centre and The Primrose Piano Quartet in Newton Stewart.
The Fringe programme includes The Wild Myrtles, Margaret Bennett, Tom Morton and The Two Lilies.