I WAS saddened to learn about Creative Scotland’s decision to stop funding the Lammermuir Festival after 14 highly successful years.

The festival has attracted visitors and musicians from across the UK and overseas to East Lothian, providing performers from the county with an international reach.

I share the concerns of local residents and businesses at the news that funding has been withdrawn and intend to make strong representations about this.

The benefit of the festival to East Lothian’s economy has been substantial. MKA Economics estimates that it generated £780,000 of revenue for East Lothian in 2022 alone. This has been crucial for the local pubs and restaurants and I’ve seen first-hand just how many people visit excellent local businesses, such as Tyneside Tavern and The Waterside Bistro, in Haddington.

East Lothian Courier: The Lammermuir Festival returned this monthThe Lammermuir Festival returned this month

While some groups have raised concerns about Creative Scotland’s £63 million Grant-in-Aid budget during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, there is no doubt of the benefits that the Lammermuir Festival has provided to our communities.

Between September 7-18, the festival attracted 6,250 visitors and 350 musicians to East Lothian. Added to this is the important impact of the festival on the preservation of Scotland’s cultural and arts heritage.

Having pledged to financially support festivals in Scotland, it is disappointing to see a lack of engagement from the First Minister and SNP ministers Neil Gray and Shona Robison on the matter.

To better understand the full impact of the cut in funding, I will be meeting with organisers of the festival to discuss options to ensure the continued survival of this vital community event and will make representations to Creative Scotland in the hope that they rethink their funding decision in order to secure the festival’s future.