Three superb festivals and events that take place within a month of each other are certain to attract thousands of visitors to Annandale and Eskdale this Autumn.
The three festivals and events will be of huge appeal to local people, and by virtue of their diversity, attract different audiences and many new visitors from tourism target markets to the region.
The first of the three festivals to mark in the calendar is the Pack Up Your Troubles Festival, to be held between August 28-31. The nostalgia tinged weekend of events, based upon World War One themes, is celebrating the 100 year birthday of twins Gretna and Eastriggs.
The Festival will feature an old style music hall evening, a stylised World War One tearoom, classic bus tours of the area, some fabulous concerts, cooking demonstrations, educational workshops on the period and many community events.
The International Sheep Dog Trials 2015 will take place on 10-12 September at Meikleholm Farm, halfway between Moffat and Dumfries, just a 15 minute drive from the M74.
The three full days of competition will see the most highly skilled dogs and handlers in the world compete for the prestigious Championship titles. Sheep dog trialling is set for a profile boost this summer when Flockstars hits the screens of ITV on 30 July and interest in this international event is expected to be very high. Upwards of ten thousand spectators are forecast to flock to the Trials.
The Lockerbie Jazz Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with a programme that promises something for everyone who loves good music.
In addition to concerts in the festival hub of Lockerbie there will be a Sunday of jazz in Moffat, a dinner jazz and blues evening in Annan and for the first time the festival reaches out to Gretna. US stars Melba Joyce and Stephanie Trick are joining the celebrations with their own special music. Singer Melba Joyce will join the Scottish Swing Orchestra who present the story of Swing while Stephanie presents her unique brand of piano jazz from its earliest days.
Lovers of big band music have two fabulous shows to look forward to and Jools Holland’s star singer Ruby Turner returns to Lockerbie and will perform a second gig in Gretna.
As the programme also includes youth jazz, blues, soul, gypsy jazz, Dixieland and jump jive, the Lockerbie Jazz Festival continues its track record of bringing world class music to South West Scotland each September.
The events are being fully backed by the Council’s unique Major Festivals and Events Strategy, 2014-2017. Funding totalling £45,000 is going into the festivals, and the Pack Up Your Troubles weekend is being coordinated by the Local Authority, in recognition of the wide-ranging number of grassroots events taking place.
Councillor Colin Smyth, the Council’s Events Champion said;
“This superb cluster of festivals and events will showcase Annandale and Eskdale and Dumfries and Galloway to great effect. The Council is doing all that it can to integrate the promotion of these festivals to ensure that we attract and retain visitors to our region, to enjoy our stunning countryside, inspiring heritage and the superb music and entertainment on offer. There is a real energy and exuberance about all these events that comes across so well.”
VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said;
“These three fantastic and very diverse festivals highlight the incredible variety of great things to see and do within the beautiful Annandale and Eskdale area. Each of these wonderful events – which give a real flavour of the vibrancy and colour of the local culture here – provides an excellent and valuable opportunity to attract new visitors to get a taste of the amazing range of activities and attractions there are to experience and enjoy throughout Dumfries & Galloway. I hope as many people as possible, from outside of the region as well as from the local community, will make the most of the chance to be a part of these great festivals, which all look set to be unmissable dates for the diary.”
Councillor Ronnie Ogilvie, Chair of Annandale and Eskdale Area Committee said;
“Council funding of major events creates business and tourism benefits and these three great events provide the perfect reason for staycations this Autumn. Where else in Scotland this year can you enjoy world class jazz in such close proximity to the tranquillity and fabulous craft of international sheep dog trials? We have the Tour of Britain coming through Gretna, Eastriggs and Cannonbie on Tuesday 8 September which will be a fantastic event to experience and the Pack Up Your Troubles Festival is choc a bloc with things to see and do.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Major Festivals and Events Strategy, 2014-2017 is unique within Scotland and will provide £750,000 of grant funding to superb events projects over a three year period to build a portfolio of sustainable, nationally and internationally significant events for Dumfries and Galloway.