Council’s £10k investment pays large Arts dividend

Julie Fowlis, who opened the Findhorn Bay Arts Festival last year (Paul Campbell)

MORAY COUNCIL’S LEADER is highlighting the success of events such as the Findhorn Bay Festival as the way forward for Arts in Moray.

Councillor Stewart Cree has responded to the recent publication demonstrating the positive impact the Festival had on business and tourism in the region.

Festival organisers received £10,000 from the local authority along with other support ‘in-kind’, a partnership that Mr Cree insists has proven to be the way forward for arts.

He said: “When the council disburses public money we must be sure benefits result from it – this comprehensive evaluation is proof positive that by working together we can see real benefits, not only in cash terms for local businesses but in the enrichment these experiences give us, the promotion of the area as a creative one, and the promotion of Moray to a wider audience.

“I congratulate Kresanna Aigner and her dedicated team on all the work done to successfully pull this great festival together.”

The council leader’s insisted that the much criticised complete withdrawal of funding for the Arts in Moray imposed by his administration was working well: “This area can still be a creative one with without an arts budget – the creative people here do not have to rely on the council.”

The Findhorn Bay Festival was held over six days in September and brought a high quality and vibrant mix of live music, fine-art, installations, architecture, design and photography, talks, tours, free activities, an education and outreach programme, and Scotland’s only Culture Day into the heart of Moray placing a spotlight on the built and natural environment in and around the bay of Findhorn.

Festival Director, Kresanna Aigner, said: “We are delighted to have received support from the Moray Council, affirming their commitment to support a diverse economy.

“The post Festival evaluation demonstrates that successful events help to develop the cultural tourism market and bring economic benefits to the people of Moray – partnership working is a key component to making this a success.”

In working with a wide range of individuals and organisations, the Findhorn Bay Festival brought together the cultural and creative community and worked alongside the tourism sector, business, accommodation providers and the third sector to achieve common goals.

The Marketing and Outcomes report demonstrates that the Festival drew bumper crowds, substantial economic impact and tremendous community involvement from Moray and beyond.