Halloween festivals secure Scottish Government backing under drive to help events industry to recover

Halloween festivals are to benefit from a year-long bid to help Scotland's events sector recover from the pandemic after the Scottish Government agreed to put in almost half a million pounds of additional financial backing into the initiative.

Tamfest, Ayrshire's Halloween festival, will be staged for the seventh time this month.

The value of a Scottish Events Recovery Fund has been boosted to £3.2 million due to the level of demand from organisers across the country.

Around 275 events in-person, hybrid and online events are expected to have benefited from the fund, which was launched last November, by the end of this year.

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They include forthcoming Halloween events in Ayrshire and Perthshire, as well as a science festival in Stirling and an ultra hill race in the West Highlands.

The Spirits of Scone event will be staged at Scone Palace in Perthshire later this month.

The creation of the fund was intended to help secure the future of events across Scotland which were facing an uncertain future due to Covid restrictions.

Grants of between £1,000 and £35,000 were available to support eligible events, which included comedy, film, book, poetry, dance, music and food festivals, as well as lighting trails, agricultural events, fashion shows and Highland Games.

The extra funding was partly intended to allow brand new events to be staged around the country throughout this year.

Events being supported via the fund include Tamfest, a hybrid event billed as “a celebration of Halloween and heritage,” which includes a mix of in-person, film and virtual elements.

Spirits of Scone will transform the grounds of Scone Palace in Perthshire this month.

Spirits of Scone, which is billed as “a fightfest like no other,” is staged in the grounds of Scone Palace, in Perthshire.

Stirling Science Festival, which will feature both in-person and online events, is due to go ahead for a second year this month to coincide with the school holidays.

The Highland Ultra is a 125 km race, which is split into three stages, which takes part in the stunning coastal mountains of the Knoydart Peninsula, a remote corner of the West Highlands only reachable by sea or on foot.

Other events supported included Aproxima Arts’ Over Lunan, which was staged on sand dunes in Angus in September.

The recent outdoor event Over Lunan, which was staged in Angus, received financial backing from the Scottish Government to help it go ahead.

Scottish culture minister Jenny Gilruth said: “The tourism and events sectors have an important contribution to make to the country’s wider economic recovery.

“We have provided a further financial boost to Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund to enable more events to take place. This will help build a stronger and more sustainable sector and demonstrate the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to Scotland as the perfect stage for events.

“Events are recognised as having a positive impact on health and wellbeing and it’s important that audiences have the opportunity and confidence to enjoy a range of different events that this additional funding supports.”

Paul Bush, director of events at government agency VisitScotland, said: “The further financial boost of £450,000 for Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund is welcome news and enables vital support for those events who submitted eligible applications to the programme.

“Scotland’s events industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, so any opportunity to help the sector plan and deliver events is positive.

"Events play an important role in our communities and it’s been wonderful to see events supported through the recovery fund adapt and innovate in order to provide a range of exciting event experiences.”

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