Newton Stewart Traditional Music Festival funding deferred

THE members of the Wigtown Area Committee have knocked back an application from a music festival of £1000 funding until further consultation can take place

A tune session at last year's festival.
A tune session at last year's festival.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the committee in Wigtown, elected members were not comfortable with the Newton Stewart Traditional Music Festival applying for £800 from the Whithorn Common Good Fund and £200 from the Wigtown Common Good Fund on the grounds that “a high level of residents within both areas” attended the event over the last two years.

Council officer Wendy Jesson said that addition information from the organisers stated that the attendance figures for the 2015 festival was 300 with 20 per cent from the Wigtown and Whithorn areas. The estimated attendance numbers for this year’s festival were between 400 and 500, with an expected 30 per cent from the south Machars. Total projected costs are £12,660.

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But Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes pointed out that, when this issue was discussed at the Wigtown Community Council meeting on Monday night, the Community Council had not been consulted and he queried whether it was appropriate to use funds that to help the populations of Wigtown and Whithorn?

He added: “This is not a case of not supporting the festival - the more festivals the better as far as I’m concerned, but the fact of the matter is that both community councils are denied an input.”

He moved that the application was deferred to allow for the information about the festival’s funding request to be studied by both towns’ representatives and for more detailed information from the applicants.

The funds for dispersal in the Whithorn Common Good Fund stand at £1942,00 and £200 is available in the Wigtown pot.

At Monday night’s Wigtown meeting, community councillors were told by Mid Galloway Councillor Jim McColm that £200 was all that was left in the Wigtown Common Good Fund and local projects, like community resilience, the Riding of the Marches and Wigtown Week, could miss out if the money was given to the Newton Stewart Music Festival.

Stranraer Councillor Willie Scobie quipped at Wednesday morning’s meeting that if the festival was applying for funds form Whithorn and Wigtown Common Good Funds they might as well have asked for money from Stranraer Common Good Fund as well.

The three-day Newton Stewart Music Festival will take place between July 7-9 featuring concerts, workshops, tune and song sessions, song writing competitions and pipe band performances.

This story was taken from our sister publication The Galloway Gazette.