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Blow for key festival

IT had been hoped that the Covid-19 lockdown would have eased sufficiently to let the Newton Stewart and Minnigaff Traditional Music and Dance Festival go ahead in July but organisers have confirmed that the event is off. Festival director Nathon Jones, pictured, said in a statement: "Just now, we would usually be full steam ahead with preparations for the annual Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music & Dance festival, due to take place over 10th-12th July 2020. It is with a very heavy heart indeed, therefore, that we announce the cancellation of this year's event. "Those who have attended the festival before, or any traditional music festival for that matter, know how much it relies on social gathering and human interaction; concerts, workshops, Highland dancers, pipers, packed sessions and the best of craic' with good friends and family. "We have been regularly monitoring the information and advice from the NHS, Scottish and UK governments and, as difficult as that as has been at times, what remains our utmost priority is the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, artists and crew, audiences and local communities. "With many people expected to travel to the region for the festival this year, and with no way of predicting the course of Covid-19 over the coming months, it was felt that we simply couldn't risk running the event in early July nor would it be possible to accurately predict an alternative date this year. "We are not unique. Many local, national and international events are cancelled too and our hearts go out to those who work so hard to make those events happen as they deliver huge cultural, social and economic benefits and we must make sure that we support them, more than ever, once we are finally able to do so. "If you have already booked tickets for this year's festival, you should have already received an e-mail detailing how you can apply for a full refund. Alternatively, all tickets purchased for this year will be valid for next year's event. "Our aim is to completely reschedule this year's programme to next year's dates - 9th-11th July 2021 - and we are thrilled to have already confirmed GrĂ¡inne Brady, Ali Levack and Cameron Nixon for that. We will also look forward to welcoming back all the fantastic Highland dancers and pipers who we know were very much looking forward to competing at the event this year. "Not forgetting you too of course; our fantastic audiences and festival goers who make the event the success it is and who we dearly cannot wait to see again to enjoy tunes and songs with at the festival. "We're also very pleased to announce that we'll be back at the Creebridge House Hotel for the full weekend in 2021 so please make sure you book early as we're expecting a very busy weekend next year. "We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time and wish you all the very best of health."

<< back Published: 12 May 2020, 12:27