Wickerman Festival 2016 cancelled after death of co-founder

ORGANISERS of one of Scotland's biggest music festivals have revealed that this year's event has been cancelled due to the tragic death of its co-founder.

The Wickerman Festival will take a year off, organisers say. Picture: Robert Perry

Jamie Gilroy, the owner of the site where Wickerman had been staged since 2001, passed away just over a year ago after a firearms incident at his farm.

The farmer’s family, who helped run the festival, decided to go ahead with last year’s event at the site at Dundrennan as a tribute to Mr Gilroy.

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However his daughter Jennie Camm, the festival director, has announced that the team behind the event now want to take time out to decide on its future.

A young reveller at Wickerman Festival in 2010. Picture: Robert Perry

Explaining the decision to cancel this year’s event, a spokeswoman revealed it had been a “difficult decision” for his family to go ahead with last year’s festival.

But she said the break would give the organising team time to decide on how to build on the past success of the festival, which has been the second largest in Scotland after T in the Park following the demise of RockNess in the Highlands.

The plug has been pulled on this year’s event, which was due to take place as normal at the end of July, despite thousands of tickets having already been sold.

Organisers secured permission to expand Wickerman’s capacity to 25,000 last year, when The Waterboys, Lulu, Squeeze and Tom Odell performed and early bird tickets for this year had gone on sale in August.

A young reveller at Wickerman Festival in 2010. Picture: Robert Perry

A spokeswoman for the festival said: “Wickerman 2015 was extremely successful, our loyal festival fans enjoyed fantastic weather, a relaxed family-friendly vibe and some truly unforgettable performances from one of our strongest line-ups to date.

“Wickerman 2015 took place shortly after the death of the event’s co-founder Jamie Gilroy and as a result, the organisers made the difficult decision to go ahead and host last year’s festival to pay tribute to him and his dedication to the much-loved music festival.

“Although the event was a great success, the organisers, who include Jamie’s wife and daughter, have decided to take a year out, so they can focus on how to build on this success and make improvements to ensure that the Wickerman experience is the best it can possibly be for its loyal fans.”

Ms Camm, who was at the helm of the event for the first time last year, added: “The event will go ahead in 2017 and plans are already taking shape. The organisers are grateful for the kind messages and loyal support from all Wicker fans and look forward to announcing further details about the 2017 festival shortly.”

Wickerman is the latest in a series of festivals to be cancelled in recent years.

Rock Ness was an annual fixture on the banks of Loch Ness from 2006 until 2013, but has not been held since.

Insider, which was held just outside Aviemore, and the Big Tent Festival, in Fife, are among the smaller events which have been shelved in recent years.

Recent new additions have included the Party at the Palace, which was launched in Linlithgow in 2014, and Butefest, on the Isle of Bute, and Oban Live, both of which were launched last year.