Confusion over future of St Andrews Festival

A pipe band entertains the crowd at last years St Andrews Festival.
A pipe band entertains the crowd at last years St Andrews Festival.

Confusion surrounds the future of the St Andrews Festival with two groups looking to stage an event this year and no confirmation yet that core funding will be made available.

The trustees of the festival are planning to organise and stage an event following the departure of the festival director, Rob Murray Brown.

Meanwhile, Mr Murray Brown is also planning to stage a festival and says he is in talks with the Scottish Government to secure funding.

Madras College rector Ian Jones is working with fellow festival trustees Cameron Harrison and Rory McLeod on a plan for an event centred in the grounds of Madras College, South Street, during the last weekend of November.

Mr Jones told the Citizen: “We recognise that last year’s festival was a watershed in getting the event established.

“The major thing that went really well was to put it all together in a central venue and that gave it a real community feel.

‘‘The problem with the venue last year was that the long marquee obscured the view of the stage for a lot of people and the sound and lighting wasn’t up to scratch.

“Last year, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, the procession and the ceilidh were all really good and we can build on all that and make it more community-focused by getting different groups involved during the day on Saturday and Sunday.”

They are planning to use a square marquee on the lawn in front of Madras in South Street and also getting the Byre Theatre on board to help improve the quality of the sound and lighting on the main stage.

However, Rob Murray Brown is also making plans to stage an event on the same weekend under the name Scotfest11.

He says his group have already lined up performances by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and the Peatbog Faeries and are working on attractions such as the Nae4 Whimps Street Ceilid, KidsFest, FoodFest, Scottish Real Ale and Whisky Fest.

“We have a fully costed event ready to go and are currently talking to the Scottish Government about funding,” he told the Citizen this week.

“The funding would normally have come through by now but because of the election this has been delayed. We are also talking to commercial sponsors and Creative Scotland but, until we hear about the government funding, nothing is certain.

“We have got an excellent team of people together to work on it and they have experience of PR, marketing, events management as well as some local business people - a good cross section of what’s needed to make the festival a success.”