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Cultural festival brings huge boost to Dunfermline

The outdoor stage at the Glen Pavilion.
The outdoor stage at the Glen Pavilion.

Dunfermline’s Outwith Festival has been deemed an outstanding success.

While Dunfermline Delivers is commissioning independent research to measure the economic impact of the five-day arts extravaganza, early indictators show the benefits to the town.

These include sold out performances, with venues reporting their busiest weekend of the trading year, and hotels at maximum occupancy.

This year the event, organised by the bids company with Fire Station Creative, Avocado Sweet and Write Rammy Publishing, added an extra day and doubled in size from its inaugural outing in 2017.

It clocked up 120 performances in 23 town centre venues across the five days,  and attendance figures were strong with more than 500 people attending the first pop up Dunfermline Filmhouse at Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries.

After many years the Glen Pavilion outdoor stage came back to life with a gala performance by the Scottish Philharmonic Big Band.

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An estimated crowd of 2,000 people watched musicians perform Love Hurts by Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty.  Other highlights included an orchestral rendition of Big Country’s In A Big Country plus movie scores from the James Bond franchise.

Dunfermline Delivers events manager Chris Foote said the festival is consolidating its growing cultural offering including a thriving music scene, contributing to long term economic regeneration and bringing the town together.

The Royal British Legion provided a new music venue this year for the Dunfermline premiere of Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer, the eclectic live music showcase curated by Fife-based singer-songwriter James Yorkston.

Sold out events in the literature line up included performances by cameraman Doug Allan and internet sensation Chris McQueer.

Meanwhile, the theatre line up, coordinated by Tom Freeman, included premieres of new work by local writers.

The festival was funded primarily by Dunfermline Delivers, with additional funding from Fife Council, Fife strategic events fund and the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust.

The success of Outwith has also provided a boost to tourism in Dunfermline.

Walking tours to explore the ancient capital as part of the festival led by tour guide Jack Pryde were sold out on two days, with additional people turning up to join in.

The tours, entitled Up the High Street an’ Doon the Closes, attracted many locals and ex-pats.

Walkers learned about the High Street and how it developed and how the street is linked to Andrew Carnegie through his uncle George Lauder’s shop and house.

Mr Pryde said: “It’s great to see the continuing interest in Dunfermline.

“The Outwith Festival attracted plenty of folk and obviously there is an interest in exploring the city and learning more about its history.

“I’m proud to show off my home town to such a wide range of visitors and no two tours are ever exactly the same as they are shaped to suit the interests of the people on them.”

Following the success Jack is now considering an autumn programme of other walking tours on themes such as St Margaret and Andrew Carnegie’s gifts to Dunfermline.

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