Inverclyde’s Scottish Folk & Roots Festival 2013
ri successfully applied for funding from Creative Scotland to support the idea of an originally themed music festival as part of ri’s Creative Industries focus.
The festival’s theme was unique: 2 weel-kent headline acts to publicise the festival but focussing thereafter on established, but lower profile national artists in the genre, supported by local Inverclyde performers, together covering seven decades of age, to make a community impact that would also appeal to a broader West of Scotland catchment area. The 8 shows of the festival ran on 5 consecutive weekends in October/November 2013 in the Beacon.
The headline statistics for the event include :
- Ticket income was £7,490 (£1,000 above target);
- Total attendance was 1,043;
- First time Beacon audience of 470 people (235 first time bookers) i.e. 45% of total audience
- 166 visitors to Inverclyde estimated (83 bookers), equating to 16% of total audience (all first time bookers)
- 2 sell-out concerts;
- One concert transmitted live to 170 countries;
- Festival came in under budget
DELIVERY AGAINST THE IDENTIFIED POTENTIAL BENEFITS
Following is a summary from the Creative Scotland submission of potential benefits of the festival, with post festival perspective in italics.
a) Brings a different audience demographic to arts programming at the Beacon, thereby increasing community participation in the area’s artistic hub and adding to the Beacon’s portfolio and sustainability.
- The estimated 470 first-time visitors demonstrates benefit realised.
b) Adds to Inverclyde’s profile as an ambitious area striving to make a
positive impact on its citizens and its external perception.
- Radio. A live transmission of the 9th September show was broadcast to 170 countries on Celtic Music Radio; daily radio adverts on Celtic Music Radio as well as a dedicated 1 hour show with ri project manager and a separate dedicated 2 hour show with Inverclyde artists performing live and being interviewed along with ri project manager; 6 interviews on Inverclyde Radio (3 with ri project manager and 3 with different festival performers); and 3 known mentions on BBC Radio Scotland. The four and a half hours’ long 9th September show was deemed to have been so successful by Celtic Music Radio that they will be repeating it on their Christmas/New Year schedule.
- Social Media. A dedicated Facebook page was set up and attracted members all over and beyond Scotland.
- Press. Multiple adverts and features appeared in Greenock Telegraph and Inverclyde Now, with features and adverts also in local papers in Paisley, Dunoon, Largs.
These examples, and the shows, all contributed to a positive image of Inverclyde.
c) Provides community benefits by showcasing local talent on each bill.
- Eleven local acts played at the festival, each delighted with audience response, increased interest in their music and CD sales.
d) Provides exposure to and for national established, respected but lower profile artists.
- All recorded extremely positive comments. One band that sold out in the Studio Theatre has booked the Main theatre for 2014 (keeping the Inverclyde support act); also one artist will return in January to record the first ever Live at the Beacon DVD.
e) The programme is inclusive across the generations (artists and audience).
- Artists’ ages ranged across 7 decades and audiences’ over 9 decades.
f) Encourages community spirit and well-being at a time of the year where cross-generational activities and entertainment are, at best, at a premium.
- The 2 standing ovations 9 encores evidenced this.
g) Encourages the development of local talent and also affords recognition to more mature local musicians.
- Local artists’ written testimonies post-show prove this point.
h) Programming enables a mentoring environment.
- Email addresses have been traded between local artists and national artists, so this process has been enabled.
i) Opportunity for this to become an annual event for Inverclyde.
- There is a demand for this from artists, audiences and the Beacon, evidenced by emails and social media.
k) Potentially adds a new thematic programming concept to the Scottish cultural calendar during a month with little competition ie November.
- Comment as above.
l) Adds to area’s economic growth potential, with spend from outwith Inverclyde.
- Audience members travelled from places including Hawick, Glenrothes, Linlithgow, Glasgow, Paisley, Renfrew, Largs, Dunoon, Strachur, Stirling, Irvine, Airdrie, Tighnabruaich etc. Beacon statistics show 83 different bookings taken from outside Inverclyde, estimated at 166 people, ie 16% of total audience - some of whom booked into hotels for the weekend, so adding further to the local economy.
m) Further strengthens the Beacon’s arts programming.
- A Beacon director stated that it was the best event of the year.
n) Exposes and encourages first-time audiences to attend broader cultural events at the Beacon, providing inspiration and community enrichment.
- This success of the festival has facilitated this.
Alastair McDonald (centre) with support act Davy Nicol from Gourock and festival organiser Neil Lochiel from Riverside Inverclyde.
Festival headliner Karen Matheson
The festival’s Top of the Pops No.1 act Dunblane, appearing at the festival as The Ted Christopher Band