Arts Festivals (Regeneration Areas)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 19 June 2013.

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Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

6. To ask the Scottish Government what assessment has been made of the contribution that local arts festivals make to communities in regeneration areas. (S4O-02277)

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

We are aware of the significant cultural, social and economic contribution that Scotland’s arts and culture festivals make to all our communities. That is why Creative Scotland’s creative place awards, for example, reward the hard work and imagination that contribute to the rich cultural life of a community, as well as its social and economic wellbeing.

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

Does the minister agree that arts events such as the coast festival, the launch of which I attended recently in Macduff, are vital in supporting community spirit and boosting the local economy by attracting visitors, both foreign and domestic?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

I absolutely agree. We all know that the arts and culture make a vital contribution to social and economic wellbeing. On top of that, they are a great way in which people can come together, as the member said, and share creative experiences.

I heard that the coast festival was a fantastic success, particularly the sandcastle competition and the rubber duck race. I was delighted that the festival took the opportunity in our year of natural Scotland to celebrate the beauty and creativity of the Banffshire coastal towns.

Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm Labour

Given that the Leith festival benefits not just regeneration areas in Leith but the whole of Leith and Edinburgh and further afield, is it not time that the Leith festival received some funding from the national fund that is available for national festivals? Would the Leith festival at the beginning of June each year not be the ideal curtain-raiser for the great summer of festivals, which continues tonight with the launch of the film festival?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

The member makes a good point about the wider contribution and impact that festivals can make. I am not entirely sure whether the Leith festival has applied for funding, but I am more than happy to sit down with the member to explore that.