Fest’s feast of arts went down a treat

Hailed as a great success, the 40th anniversary of Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, which took place for ten days over the end of May, has successfully attracted new and diverse audiences who enjoyed 50 events across 34 venues region-wide.

A full report will become available over the next few weeks but early evidence suggests an approximate 9% increase in ticket sales on last year, with audiences deeming the events to be of a high quality and many stating it was their first time attending the region’s arts festival.

The festival charity which helps support local venues and artists and selects world-class touring acts to come to the region, has reported that many new faces attended the shows this year, enjoying a programme which offered quality comedy, theatre, music, contemporary dance and spoken word.

Scotland’s third largest region was in full festival force as village and town halls, theatres, arts centres pubs and other community spaces were buzzing with great audiences and several sell-out shows, including short family performances from Scottish Opera in their pop-up truck parked up at Logan Botanic Gardens and Crawick Multiverse and comedy theatre Team Viking at Gatehouse of Fleet and Lochans Community Hall – productions all personally selected by new Festival Director Dani Rae.

New venues, including Lochans Community Hall in the Rhins of Galloway, joined the programme this year. Team Viking brought an audience of over sixty people to this, one of the most rural venues in the festival.

There were favourable turn-outs for footie show The Red Lion staged in Stranraer and Theatre Royal Dumfries.

The region’s young people, hailing from Stranraer to Gretna, played an important role once again this year in The High Street Take Over – Picnic at the Plainstanes in Dumfries a fortnight ago which was entirely programmed by the festival’s Young Promoters Group and offered free live performances all afternoon of various kinds.