Festival opens guarantee scheme for 2016

2015 festival image

The Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival is offering financial support and professional advice to help individuals, promoters and venues stage quality live events at next year’s festival


Last year, the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival initiated a Guarantee Scheme into its programming which enabled 23 promoters, community groups, venues and artists across the region to put on performance art events and be part of Scotland’s largest rural multi-art form festival.

The scheme proved so successful, that we have incorporated it into our regular yearly programming and any individual, group or organisation wishing to put on an event in the region during next year’s festival (20 to 29 May 2016) will be eligible to apply to the guarantee scheme which offers financial support and professional advice for their event.

Pete Renwick, festival programme director, said: “A major role of the festival is to support promoters, venues and community groups based in our region to programme quality performing arts events.

“In 2015 events we supported included theatre, folk, Jazz, poetry, spoken word, live music film scores, puppetry, dance, and early music. We were able to match people looking to tour with people looking to host events, but equally the programme drew on venues’ own networks, programme and event ideas.”

We encourage proposals from organisations with their own programming ideas.  Equally, should you wish to host an event and would like us to recommend touring artists, we will work with you to find a suitable event. Please get in touch with Lou on 01387 259627 info@dgartsfestival.org.uk

When looking at which events to support, the event should fulfil the following criteria:

  • Should be of a high quality, beyond an organisation’s usual activity
  • Be of good artistic quality
  • Will draw an audience
  • Is not competing with another similar event during the run of the festival
  • Have to take place during the festival dates
  • Have a realistic budget
  • Have a realistic ticket income
  • Have a realistic ticket price
  • Organisers should be willing to promote the event through their own network, costs to be included in the budget

The festival will pay for

  • Artists’ fees, travel and accommodation
  • Venue hire
  • Publicity
  • Set-up and technical costs

If you run a venue, are an artist or even a sound technician, these will include your own fees provided they are included in the application

What we won’t pay for

  • Promoters’ time
  • Costs of catering for the public
  • Midsteeple Box Office 7% ticket charge
  • An allocation of ticket sales (no less than 20%) must be available via the Midsteeple Box Office
  • Rented items that are not returned

The Application form can be downloaded in MS Word format from our website www.dgartsfestival.org.uk

We are conducting our selection through a fair and open access application process. No funding decisions will be made prior to the application deadline.

The guarantee scheme will fund events which require festival support. Should your event be able to take place without festival support, then we would encourage you to apply to be included in the Fringe programme.

All forms should be returned by 9th November 2015 to Louise Davies, Festival Co-ordinator

Email: info@dgartsfestival.org.uk or by post Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, Gracefield Arts Centre, 28 Edinburgh Road, Dumfries, DG1 1JQ. Tel: 01387 259627.

Successful applicants will be informed of the panel’s decision by 18th November 2015 and notified in writing.

SMALL PRINT: The total costs of the event should be more than the Guarantee requested and we are looking for promoters to buy in with a shared risk. The promoter should be confident in achieving a minimum audience. The Guarantee will ensure that all agreed event costs are covered, provided you achieve above the minimum. Should ticket income be more than the event costs, you will keep profits. We are able to support smaller events costing less than £500 but will offer a smaller guarantee. The costs should include artists’ fees, travel accommodation, venue hire, technical costs and publicity. If for example you are an artist or a venue, you can include your own fees in the budget. Typically we will expect  the guarantee to cover no more than 50% of the total event costs but we will make exceptions for high risk, developmental, or low risk projects.

Return of the Magnificent Seven


THERE are few Scottish song projects that make the news. And there are even fewer that can stake a claim on making history.

Macmath: The Silent Page managed to do both in the Spring this year, garnering local, national and international resonance within a few days of its world premiere in the Ryan Centre, Stranraer, on Tuesday, 26 May.

This ground-breaking project, specially commissioned by the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, saw seven of the region’s, and indeed Scotland’s, best traditional musicians get together to resurrect the hidden archives of Glenkens man, William Macmath, an early 20th century song collector.

Three pioneering performances during the festival and a subsequent CD release, were the culmination of months of work by this group of award-winning musicians who have come to be known as the “Magnificent Seven”: Ali Burns, Emily Smith, Robyn Stapleton, Jamie McClennan, Aaron Jones, Claire Mann and Wendy Stewart.

Now they are back.

On Saturday, October 3, at 7.30pm, Macmath: The Silent Page will be sung again at Dalry Town Hall, giving the region’s audiences another chance to experience the extraordinary musicianship of Wendy on harp and button accordion; Claire on flute, tin whistle and violin; Jamie on guitar and fiddle; and Aaron on guitar, bouzouki and cittern, accompanied the beautiful and melodious voices of two of Scotland’s most celebrated singers: Emily and Robyn. Directed by songwriter Ali Burns, the musicians will be joined by The Feral Choir and celebrated Dumfries poet and author Tom Pow will provide the dialogue celebrating the life of this, until now, unsung hero from Glenkens.

Tickets £12/ £10 from www.dgartsfestival.org.uk or from the Midsteeple Dumfries 01387 253383.

For further information on Macmath: The Silent Project, visit http://macmathsilentpage.wordpress.com

Become an Ambassador

2015 festival imagePeople with a passion for performing arts are asked to join the increasing ranks of ambassadors for Scotland’s largest rural performing arts festival.
Twenty fifteen was a record year for Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, which saw a massive 60 per cent rise in ticket sales and a 47 per cent increase in audience figures from 2014.
This year, the annual 10-day event, which has been running at the end of May for the past 36 years, hosted 82 events in 42 venues across the region-wide 6,426-square-kilometre  stage. It supported a broader young persons’ programme, launched the premiere of an historically significant Scottish song project and helped venues and acts to bring some of the world’s top performing artists to a diverse range of stages throughout Dumfries and Galloway.
And now organisers are looking for people interested in the work of the festival to come on board and share in its continuing success by becoming ambassadors for the event.
Festival organisers will be holding a public meeting on Tuesday, 29 September, in Castle Douglas Town Hall where everyone is invited to come along and sign up to become a festival volunteer.
Festival co-ordinator Lou Davies said: “We are looking for people who have a love of performing arts and who want to share it with other like-minded people.
“Festival ambassadors can help out in a number of ways such as spread the word of our work to their networks; help to evaluate events; help run events; brochure distribution; and assisting in front of house.
“The list of work is endless but all of these roles are vital to the smooth operation of the festival.
“Our ambassadors generate new energy as well as bring fresh ideas and approaches to our work. We are looking for people who appreciate what we’re trying to do and who want to be part of it.”
The meeting takes place at 7.30pm.
For further information, contact Lou at the festival offices on 01387 259627 or email info@dgartsfestival.org.uk

Festival thanks

There is little doubt that the 2015 Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival has been the biggest and brightest to date.

Our plans to broaden the scope of the festival to a wider audience with a diverse and innovative programme and to get young people more involved both behind the scenes and on the stages paid off as the number of sell-out shows, ticket sales and increased audience numbers have shown.

Of course, the festival would not have reached such a prominent position in the region’s entertainment calendar without the help and support of the people and organisations that have got behind us over the past 36 years.

DGAF_130515_Artists-001And so, we would like once again to thank you all.

Thanks to our funders, our supporters, the venues, the acts and, of course, members of our rich and diverse communities who attended performances from the grand to the tiny and remote stages across the region.

The year on year success and growth of Scotland’s largest rural performing arts festival can be solely attributed to the high level of support from all of you.

It has been an amazing, positive and exciting 36-year journey and we’re back next year from 20 to 29 May for another year of bringing world-class performing arts to the region.

Thanks again. See you in 2016.

The Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival Team


The Carrying Stream – Blog by Tom Pow

MacMath The Silent Page

In her work with the Feral Choir, Ali Burns has frequently used the spoken word as counterpoint to song. In Macmath – The Silent Page, she uses the spoken word again, but this time to carry the narrative of William Macmath’s work as a recorder of the oral tradition. The story David Sumner will tell in the Ryan Centre in Stranraer (26 May) and that I will tell in Langholm (Buccleuch Centre, 27 May) and in Dumfries (Easterbrook Hall, 31 May) is the story of how a seemingly unlikely man from the Stewartry, who worked most of his life as a legal clerk in Edinburgh, collaborated with the foremost song collector of his time – the Harvard Professor, Frances Child. What is remarkable about the songs that are given voice (from The Silent Page to the Singing Page) in this concert-ceilidh is that all of them were sung to Macmath…

View original post 443 more words

Rousing start to arts festival

Celebration and excitement hit the Easterbrook Hall on Friday night when the 2015 Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival kicked off its 10-day stint of bringing world-class performing arts to audiences throughout the region.

Patrons, supporters, performers and friends joined the festival board and staff for a reception in the Duncan Rooms before the rousing strings of the Scottish Ensemble played the first notes of the 36th Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival.

Chair Ken Gouge welcomed all to the event and gave a short speech on how the festival is going from strength to strength, securing funding to take it to the next level and putting out a call for festival ambassadors to join the team of what has become Scotland’s largest rural performing arts event.

Scottish Ensemble director of artistic planning, Jenny Jamison, then spoke on how the orchestra was redefining the concept of a string orchestra and inspiring audiences in Scotland and beyond.

Lee Van-Wakelin and his young film makers from Scene 1 Take 1 were there to film the event as were Dumfries and Galloway photographer Kim Ayres and his team of able photographers. You can view the results of their sterling work on our Facebook page.

The festival continues until Sunday, May 31, with more class acts including an hilarious 90-minute history of comedy with The Reduced Shakespeare Company, TV comedy star Des Clarke and the wonderful sounds of the Rajasthan Heritage Brass band.

For information on all aspects of the festival, including a full programme, visit our website.