Why do locals ignore their own festival?

Newton Stewart Traditional Music Festival
Newton Stewart Traditional Music Festival

A recent incomer to the region has expressed his surprise and disappointment at the lack of support local folk give one of their own festivals.

Now Rob Mason has decided to join up with the team running the Newton Stewart and Minnigaff Traditional Music and Dance Festival to drum up more interest in the event among Galloway residents.

He said this week: “I moved to Dumfries and Galloway just under two years ago. I knew it had a lot going for it – that’s why I moved here from the north-east of England where I’d spent my first six decades.

“On top of the natural gifts Dumfries and Galloway has to offer I knew it had some cultural hotspots too. In my new neck of the woods - Wigtown, Kirkcudbright and Gatehouse of Fleet - seem to be the gems for music, literature and art. What I didn’t realise was that there appears to be precious little going on culturally in the place I live nearest to: Newton Stewart. One glittering exception I’ve discovered to this is the Newton

Stewart and Minnigaff Traditional Music and Dance Festival. Last year I went to every one of the concerts the festival provided. It was brilliant. Nothing less! Top quality musicians, from worldly veterans to some of the brightest young talents in the country combined to provide a joyous weekend.

“What astonished me most of all about this was that although folk had travelled from far and wide to attend the festival it seemed to have passed local people almost entirely by. I met someone who had travelled from California but no-one from Carsluith!

In the weeks afterwards when I spoke to friends and neighbours, telling them what a great time I’d had the invariable response I got was, ‘What festival?’ People appeared to know nothing about it despite the posters that had advertised it.”

Now Rob - a professional writer - has joined the festival’s organising team and is in charge of publicising the 2019 event, being held from July 12 to 14.

He said: “ Once again the talent is top class.”

For more details go to: www.tradmusic.com/