`Muchty no more as world-renowned festival is cancelled

The festival, which included the famous Pram Race, will fold
The festival, which included the famous Pram Race, will fold

People in Auchtermuchty have been left reeling after it emerged that the town’s internationally-renowned festival is to fold after 36 years.

A public meeting is to be held on April 19 to formally wind up Auchtermuchty Festival Society and transfer its assets to the town’s community trust.

The tough decision was made to end the festival as there are now just three people left on the committee and not enough support from the community to continue.

The Festival Society

made the announcement ‘with great sadness’.

Next month’s extraordinary general meeting, in the Upper Town Hall, looks set to agree to the recommendation by trustees to dissolve the Festival Society.

All remaining assets, after all debts and liabilities were paid, would be handed over to the Auchtermuchty Community Trust – which, it was noted, had similar objectives to the Festival Society.

Eric Titterington, Festival secretary, said its demise had unfortunately been on the cards for a number of years.

It had become a victim of changing times within the village and growing bureaucracy surrounding the rules for staging it.

The committee, said Mr Titterington, had shrunk to three active members – himself, Allan Dowie and Louise Ness – two of whom were over 60.

Financially, it was becoming more difficult, with grant aid dwindling, and “red tape” increasingly surrounding the events.

“We ran a festival of sorts last year, but trying to run a community festival with three people is really an impossible task,” he added.

Attempts to recruit more people to the committee and discussions with other bodies to keep the Festival going had been unsuccessful.

“We’re not the only organisation in Auchtermuchty and round about that has been struggling,” said Mr Titterington.

“When we started, it was very much a community – over half the people in Auchtermuchty worked in Auchtermuchty.

“The way life is these days, people seem to have less time to give towards various organisations.

“Unfortunately, the community has totally changed – there is hardly any industry in Auchtermuchty now and most of the shops have shut as well. Auchtermuchty is a dormitory place.”

The festival regularly featured a 10-day diary of music, art and culture, celebrating “all aspects of community life with something for everyone”.

Various community events were complemented by traditional music sessions – later scrapped because of an apparent lack of local interest – and a children’s pageant, with camp sites set up for visitors.

“It was a lot of work but, if you had enough hands, it was okay,” said Mr Titterington , who had been involved in every festival since it began in 1981. “Latterly, though, that’s not been happening.”

“There are a lot of good memories,” he added.

“It’s very sad that it’s reached this stage.”