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Wickerman Festival scrapped for good

Despite saying in January Wickerman Festival would “be back bigger and stronger in 2017”, its directors have announced the event will not be held again.

“After much thought and consideration Patsy Gilroy and Jennie Camm have decided that the Wickerman Festival will not be continuing,” reads a statement. “Since its creation by Jamie Gilroy, founding director, the festival has provided us all with an eclectic mix of memories. It’s these that we wish people to look back on and remember. Thank you all for your loyal support over the years…”

“After much thought and consideration Patsy Gilroy and Jennie Camm have decided that the Wickerman Festival will not be continuing”

Festival promoter The Wickerman Festival Ltd lost £196,377 in 2015, with blame laid partially on Scotland’s “volatile” festival sector and increasing costs.

Example, Julian Cope, Squeeze, Tom Odell and The Waterboys headlined the last festival, in 2015. Gilroy, who founded Wickerman in 2001, was found dead in December 2014 at his farm in Dunbrennan with head injuries believed to have been caused by a firearm.

 


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Wickerman hopeful of return, despite rising costs

The promoter of the long-running Wickerman Festival has said it is still hopeful the event will return in 2017 following this year’s cancellation, despite losing close to £200,000 in 2015.

The Wickerman Festival Ltd’s 2015 accounts, filed this month with the UK’s Companies House, show a working capital deficiency of £196,377 – down from a £105,087 surplus in 2014.

When asked by the Daily Record if the loss was the reason for Wickerman 2016 not going ahead, festival director Patsy Gilroy – who took over the running of the festival with daughter Jennie Camm following the death of its founder, Jamie Gilroy, in late 2014 – said: “It is partly down to that and partly down to Jennie being back in Africa. We also felt the festival just needed a rest.

“The festival industry is quite volatile at the moment. The costs have gone up so much and you can’t put up the ticket prices any more.”

“Unreasonable policing requirements [are] depriving our area of hundreds of thousands of pounds of income”

The issue of rising policing costs for music festivals was recently discussed in the Scottish parliament, with Finlay Carson, the member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) for Galloway and West Dumfries, using Wickerman as a specific example. “Rising policing costs have placed a huge burden on popular local festivals and events,” he said. “I raised this very issue in parliament during a recent debate where I cited the example of the Wickerman Festival, which did not go ahead this year, due in no small part to unreasonable policing requirements, depriving our area of hundreds of thousands of pounds of income.”

In the same debate, Colin Smyth, MSP for south Scotland, added: “In 2015, the policing bill for [boutique Raehills Meadows event] Eden festival was £12,000 for a licensed audience of 8,000. This year it is £38,000 – an increase of more than 300 per cent.

“Notwithstanding the perception of overpolicing, the charges by Police Scotland are well above those in England, undermining and risking events in rural areas and putting Scotland at a competitive disadvantage with our near neighbours. […] Events and festivals are [vital] to the region, both culturally and to the local economy. However, it’s clear that the spiralling costs of policing such events is a threat to their future, and the government must take immediate action to put a halt to the soaring costs being demanded by Police Scotland before long-term damage is done.”

 


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