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Nairn Book and Arts Festival aims to lose the fear factor

By Alasdair Fraser

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Alex Williamson of Nairn Books and Arts Festival.
Alex Williamson of Nairn Books and Arts Festival.

ORGANISERS of the annual Nairn Book and Arts Festival are planning to go al fresco in 2021.

New festival chairman Alex Williamson and his team will take a large part of the September event outdoors following feedback in an online survey of the event’s regular audience.

Given the pandemic, the majority of respondents stated a preference for outdoor events where social distancing requirements could most comfortably be adhered to.

Around half stated they would also be happy to go to indoor events if socially-distanced, but with a strong preference for small numbers of people attending.

Online talks and exhibitions also proved a popular alternative to live events, with over a third of respondents happy to attend on-screen events.

Mr Williamson, said: “After what has been a very challenging year for everyone, we thought it was really important to ask our audiences what sort of festival they would feel comfortable attending next year.

“The feedback we’ve had is that, at this time of uncertainty, people generally feel safest at smaller-scale outdoor events.

“While we were delighted with the support for this year’s online mini-festival, our survey also showed that people are desperate for live music and performance.

“Many respondents missed the social aspect and shared experiences of a ‘live’ festival. That will now be our focus when planning for next year – to stage a fear-free, fun festival that the whole community can enjoy.”

The event will run from September 4 to 12.

Mr Williamson added: “For next year, we are particularly keen to bring the festival’s creative vibrancy to the High Street and are talking to a number of local organisations to find ways to make this happen.

“We hope to continue working with Nairn Community and Arts Centre, our long-standing festival partner, while bringing forward a high-quality online offering featuring authors from across the country, live music and performance and showcases for local creative groups.

“We are also looking for more members of the community to get involved – as participants, committee members or volunteers – so if you want to be part of planning next year’s festival, do get in touch. Finally, we want to thank everyone who completed the survey – we can’t wait to share our plans for 2021 with them.”

The Festival’s friends scheme for supporters offers early bird booking for events.

To join, visit www.nairnfestival.co.uk/events/special-events/festival-friend. For more information about the festival, visit www.nairnfestival.co.uk.

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