Plea to support County music festivals with Covid recovery plans

The importance of providing financial assistance to help Scotland’s live music festival sector, including popular local events, with recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been raised at Holyrood.

At this week’s Culture Questions in Parliament, Iain Gray MSP asked the Scottish Government how it is planning to give the sector the help it needs to ensure the return of such events next year.

Mr Gray used his supplementary question to highlight the need for state support including funding for local music festivals, such as Fringe by the Sea, Haddstock and the Lammermuir Festival in East Lothian, to help them recover from the pandemic and lockdown.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop agreed that live music plays a crucial role in Scotland’s cultural life and that she would explore provision of longer term support for music festivals as part of plans for recovering from the pandemic.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“East Lothian has a thriving arts and culture scene. Music is an important part of that scene and includes several successful local festivals. As well as providing important opportunities for local people to access the arts, these events also help boost tourism by bringing visitors to the County.

“However, like so many areas of life, cultural events, including music festivals, have been hit hard by the pandemic with many cancelled or postponed over recent months. As we begin the recovery from the impact of the virus, I am keen to ensure that our music festivals receive state support to help them.

“While I was heartened by the Cabinet Secretary’s reply to my question in Parliament, music festivals take a long time to plan and organise and they will urgently need to see concrete proposals for how the Scottish Government will support them with preparing for events in 2021.”

Watch Mr Gray’s questions and the Cabinet Secretary’s replies in full here.