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One of Mid Argyll’s most quirky and colourful festivals has fallen victim to the impact of Covid for the second year running – but it is not all bad news.
The people behind Lochgilphead Celtic and Pictish Festival are looking ahead to a ‘bigger and better’ event in 2022, held on the town’s newly-improved front green.
After four years the festival was growing in popularity and the decision to cancel – with half the funding already in place – was ‘difficult’ according to organisers Lochgilphead Community Council and Lochgilphead Phoenix Project.
Brian MacLennan of Lochgilphead Community Council said: ‘We already had 50 per cent of our funding in place thanks to our first-ever successful bid to Argyll and Bute Council’s Supporting Communities Fund in 2020, in recognition of the growing reputation and strength of this community event after four great years.
‘The council kindly gave us an extension on the funding after we were forced to cancel last year’s event due to the Covid pandemic.
‘Things were certainly looking better this year but, as time went on, we realised that by the time our usual festival date came round in early August it would still be looking precarious in terms of arranging such a gathering, even in an outdoor setting. It wouldn’t be impossible but the extra control measures we would have to put in place would seriously hamper the festivities and atmosphere.
‘And, though we would be able to use the Ropework Park as an alternative, our usual place on the front green is unavailable due to the long-awaited and exciting redevelopment work going on down there.’
Brian continued: ‘The final decision also came down partly to finances as the extension or our funding from the council was until the end of March 2022. It seemed very unlikely that we would be able to hold the festival in that timeframe – even if the public health risks were greatly reduced, the winter weather would have almost certainly made it impossible.
‘The last piece of the puzzle fell into place when Argyll and Bute Council agreed that – as requested by us and other Supporting Communities Fund recipients – a further extension to the funding awards would be granted until the end of 2022.
‘This very welcome piece of news means that we can now move on with organising the biggest and best Lochgilphead Celtic and Pictish Festival ever on the brand new front green in our usual slot of Saturday August 6 2022, jointly hosted as ever by Lochgilphead Community Council and Lochgilphead Phoenix Project.
‘I would like to thank Argyll and Bute Council for the further extension as well as all our supporters for their understanding.’