The 2020 festival would have been our 19th in a row! Our festival started as a small afternoon event and grew into a multi event 23-day festival. They say that timing is everything and for the 2020 festival that was a very true comment! The scope of the festival can be seen I the list of events
The pandemic had arrived in January/February and everyone was watching to see how it would possibly develop. The UK and Scottish governments were starting to give more and more regular directives and advice most were not to onerous or appeared to possibly affect art and performance. As we started to approach our festival things were beginning to change. The ‘older’ and ‘at risk’ groups were being advised to be more careful.
Between the 6th of March and 14th March, we were able to deliver our photography exhibition, and two musical events and another art exhibition. All of the artistic community was holding its breath what was going to happen?
Then our decision was made for us the UK and Scottish governments announced that no social gatherings would be permitted. To a certain extent we were pleased that a decision had been made, but we were disappointed for all the artist and public who were going to attend and participate in the festival. It was heartbreaking to contact over 40 artists, performer and sound engineers to confirm that the festival was cancelled. For the artistic community whose livelihoods depends on performance this was financially devastating. The committee decided to send out booking fees for hopefully 2021 events to support them a little at this time.
It is now over six months since we had to cancel our festival, we hope to deliver a different festival in 2021 and into the future. We are planning to hold out more outdoor events. In the 2019 festival we hosted a fantastic outdoor event in collaboration with the Paisley Spree called Sea Hames which was an outdoor promenade performance from leading physical theatre troupe Oceanallover. This innovative multi-disciplinary performance fused eclectic sonic composition, compelling performance and intricate costume to explore the mythology and iconography of the horse, the earth and the sea.
We plan to host online events with the authors we had booked for 2020: Melanie Reid, Diarmid MacArthur and Kirstin Innes. If all goes well, we plan some live music starting in the summer of 2021.
Like many other art groups and festivals thing will not be the same for quit a long time but Lochwinnoch hoes to still deliver a host of events all be it in a different medium and format.
Morag Thow sits on the Lochwinnoch Arts Festival Organisinig Committee.