Ken Gouge WEB-01Festival chair Ken Gouge takes a look at the successes of the past year

Last year’s Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival was our most successful, extensive and diverse so far with 85 performances in 48 venues across the entire region. Many shows sold out and more venues and local performing artists were involved than ever before. We are proud to say that Dumfries and Galloway has the largest and most diverse rural touring performing arts festival in the whole country. We intend to keep it that way in 2017 with a fascinating and high quality programme of more shows in more places.

That the festival is offering high quality experiences for audiences is borne out by a few of our statistics. There was a 38% increase in audience numbers from 2015 (104% compared with 2014) and a 44% increase in ticket income compared with 2015 (131% compared with 2014). The festival continues to reach new audiences across the region and beyond, with more than half of audience members stating that they had not attended festival events previously. Audience satisfaction remains impressively high with 93% of audience members rating their experience as good or very good. There was also a massive 250% increase in audience members from outwith the region.

An important part of the festival’s work continues to be to value and nurture young performing artists and audiences.  We encourage young people to take an active part in the performing arts across the region as well as supporting the development of emerging local talent. We achieve this by: offering half priced tickets to young people under 26, ensuring that the festival programme caters for a wide age range and by helping young performing artists and promoters to put on their own shows by offering them financial and technical assistance. During last year’s Festival five events in the festival staged and promoted by young people and 1,038 young people attended 27 workshops led by visiting professional performing artists.

All this could not happen without continued support from our major funders and many smaller grants from charitable trusts, our patrons and members. We thank you all. But it also could not happen without volunteers. We have a small, dedicated and hardworking team of staff and a large group of energetic and enthusiastic people without whom we could not operate right across the region. We would love more volunteers to join us.

Wherever you live in Dumfries and Galloway, your contribution of skill and knowledge would make a difference, particularly at a local level.  Please consider joining us as a patron, member or arts ambassador. We have  ambitious plans to enhance the performing arts across the region throughout the year – we need you!  Information on how you can contribute to the development of the festival and Arts Live is here on our website or do contact us.

Ken Gouge,
Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival