Support for festivals and events

Dumfries and Galloway Council is determined to make Dumfries and Galloway the best place in rural Scotland in which to plan, manage, deliver and visit great events. For more than fifteen years the Council has overseen the delivery of successive events strategies that have helped grow creative, memorable and sustainable festivals and events in our beautiful region.

The Dumfries and Galloway Events Strategy 2023-2027

Dumfries and Galloway Council has approved a new Events Strategy for the region.  The Strategy will cover financial years 2023/2024 through to 2026/2027 inclusive.  The Strategy follows on and has evolved from the Major Festivals and Events Strategy 2018-2022, that was fully delivered by the Council and its partners, and which created a framework for the economic growth of the events sector until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020.  This prior Strategy then focused on supporting community events to be established and to take place safely, to contribute towards health and wellbeing across Dumfries and Galloway after the prolonged periods of lockdown.

The Dumfries and Galloway Events Strategy 2023-2027 will continue investment in the Signature Events of the region, and retains the Major Events Fund and Community Events Fund (see below for information on these Two Funds).  The Council will commission and publish Scotland's first Greener Events Toolkit, and monitor funded projects for their economic, social and environmental benefits.

The Council has secured the UCI World Para-cycling Championships in August 2023 for the region.  We will work closely with the project partners to deliver a World Championships that celebrate the endurance and inspirational qualities of the para-cyclists and profiles the wonderful cycling opportunities of our scenic region.

As with the previous four regional Events Strategies of Dumfries and Galloway, the adoption of this Strategy is an empowering act; to empower events organisers to make the most of their vision and skills, to empower communities to become more self-determining, and to assist businesses and agencies to promote sport, heritage, arts and culture in Dumfries and Galloway.

This Strategy aims to sustain the existing events sector through the difficult economic and social times we are living through, to secure the long term future of our superb portfolio of festivals and events for the long term.

The aim of the Strategy

The aim of the Major Events Strategy 2023-2026 is to develop and sustain Dumfries and Galloway as an internationally renowned rural events destination that continuously attracts new visitors to the region.

The Strategy Vision

The Vision is to make Dumfries and Galloway the best place in rural Scotland in which to plan, manage, deliver and visit great festivals and events.

The Strategy objectives are:

  • To deliver the Major Events Strategy 2023-2026 Investment Programme - to act as a catalyst for investment across Dumfries and Galloway
  • To promote collaboration, cooperation and shared knowledge in the regional events sector
  • To work in partnership with events organisers to reduce the carbon footprint of festivals and events in Dumfries


Dumfries and Galloway Council's Events Funding Programmes 2024/25

Dumfries and Galloway Council has announced that more than £120,000 will be available for festivals and events grants in financial year 2024/25.

The Council is to introduce the Regional Events Growth Fund and continue the Major Events Fund. Events organisers can apply to the two funding programmes from Monday 16 October with a deadline of Friday the 24 November.

The total funding available for events and community organisations is more than £120,000.  The two funding programmes form part of the Dumfries and Galloway Events Strategy 2023-2027.

The Regional Events Growth Fund is being established to provide finance for the most ambitious community events to grow into regional attractions.

Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the Council's Communities Committee said, "Our long-standing events strategies have always been welcomed and embraced by the region's events sector. We have a terrific partnership with the region's events organisers, and the two funding programmes we have announced will lead to many great projects being supported, to the benefit of local communities and businesses."

Councillor Jackie McCamon, the Vice-Chair of the Communities Committee said, "Despite the difficult challenges of the cost of living crisis and COVID-19, the region's events sector has proved to be resilient and innovative. The Regional Events Growth Fund can help our events sector go from strength to strength and lay down the foundations for many great eye-catching events of the future."

Application Form and Guidance Notes for the Major Events Fund 2024/25:

The Application Form and Guidance Notes for the Regional Events Growth Fund:

The Signature Events Advancement Process 2023/24

Dumfries and Galloway Council has announced that it is to lead the search for new Signature Events for the region.

The Advancement initiative, to identify the growth events in Dumfries and Galloway that have the potential to grow sustainably and profile our region internationally, is a cornerstone of the Council's Events Strategy 2023-2027.

The Advancement process is unique to Dumfries and Galloway, and is a nationally respected initiative, that ensures that the Council has the best quality information upon which to make longer term events grant-funding decisions.

The region's Events Partnership will assist the local authority to take forward the Advancement process. Securing Signature Event status is recognised as a prestigious accolade and can help festivals and events grow and develop.

The open competition to identify new Signature Events will enhance tourism to Dumfries and Galloway. The existing Signature Events, who will retain their status, are Big Burns Supper, the Arts Festival, Spring Fling, the Wigtown Book Festival, World Championship Ice Hockey, the Scottish Rally and the Tour of Britain when it has local Stages.

Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the Council's Communities Committee said, "The Council is committed to delivering our Events Strategy, which has successfully facilitated an enviable portfolio of festivals and events across our region over the past decade. The Signature Events Advancement process creates a unique opportunity for growth events to take their development further with the support of the Council and other public agencies."

Councillor Jackie McCamon, the Vice-Chair of the Communities Committee said, "Festivals and events make a wonderful contribution to the quality of life in our region, and have shown resilience and commitment to our communities since the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many up and coming festivals and events that will feel they merit Signature Event status and I would urge them to apply."

Dumfries and Galloway Council Launches Scotland's First Greener Events Toolkit

Dumfries and Galloway Council has researched and launched Scotland's first Greener Events Toolkit, to support the work of festivals and events organisers across the region. The Toolkit has been produced in collaboration with the Southern Uplands Partnership Services Ltd and Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.

The Toolkit aims to encourage festivals and events to be planned and delivered in Dumfries and Galloway with a better understanding of how to reduce their carbon emissions and plan for their long term sustainability.

The toolkit contains all the information, tips and advice organisers require to take forward their projects, putting our pristine, sensitive environment and the Council's commitment to reducing carbon outputs at the heart of their planning.

Full Press release and toolkit available below:

Council Funding to Signature Events 2023/24

Dumfries and Galloway Council is continuing its active delivery of the regional events strategy, and today announced that £145,000 of funding has been awarded to six Signature Events. The events are this year's Wigtown Book Festival and Scottish Rally and Spring Fling, the Arts Festival and Big Burns Supper in 2024. Funding will also be provided for a World Championship Ice Hockey tournament at Dumfries Ice Bowl, if and when the next World Championship Group is attracted to the venue. Council Officers are confident such a tournament will be awarded to the Ice Bowl soon.

The Signature Events policy is unique within Scotland and the UK and secures the immediate future of these events for local people. The Council's Dumfries and Galloway Events Strategy 2023-2027 was adopted in October 2022 and aims to make the region the best in rural Scotland for planning, managing and visiting festivals and events.

The Council is also committed to reviewing if any of the area's growth events can become Signature Events from 2024, to aid the growth, profile and programmes of the next generation of major events in Dumfries and Galloway.

Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the Council's Communities Committee said, "The Council is completely focussed on the implementation and delivery of the new regional Events Strategy. We have a positive, purposeful partnership with the region's events organisers, and the Signature Events grants we have approved will be highly beneficial to the organisations we are supporting and business and tourism in our region."

Councillor Jackie McCamon, the Vice-Chair of the Communities Committee said, "Our economy is benefitting from our tailored investment in festivals and events. Recently, Gatehouse of Fleet was transformed when the village hosted the Gralloch Gravel Cycling World Cup, with close to 1200 participants and 600 spectators. The event generated a wonderful atmosphere in Gatehouse of Fleet and a huge cash injection into the local economy. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis, we are doing everything we possibly can to support our local economy and aid community wellbeing through our well researched events strategy."

Come Organise Festivals and Events in Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway Council is committed to supporting the work of festivals and events organisers, already based in the region or keen to take forward projects here.  For more information contact

The region has a competitive advantage in rural Scotland as a location to plan, manage and deliver great festivals and events.  There are many reasons for Dumfries and Galloway's position of competitive advantage regarding rural festivals and events, and these include but are not limited to:

  • The availability of funding, which acts as a clear incentive, from the Council and other sources such as Community Benefit programmes, EventScotland and Trusts unique to our region such as the Holywood Trust and the Galloway Association of Glasgow
  • The emergence of the themes towns e.g. Wigtown, Scotland's Book Town and Kirkcudbright artists' town, and the need for high quality festivals, events and exhibitions to drive forward this branding
  • The vibrant voluntary sector and the high levels of social capital in our region
  • Our towns and villages have strong senses of local identity, which manifests itself in festivals and events development
  • The consecutive events strategies that have assisted the regional events sector
  • The sector has a virtuous cycle of development, learning, peer support and expansion
  • We have regional distinctiveness, in our heritage, landscape and geography which makes our events distinctive and stand out in a crowded national market
  • A high percentage of creative people and early retired people capable of facilitating and managing events development
  • Festivals and events in many locations have replaced traditional entertainment such as cinemas, which are rare in Dumfries and Galloway


Page last updated: 23/10/2023
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