Book It - And Spread the Word!

3 September 2021
Members of an audience are laughing during an event at Wigtown Book Festival.

Dear supporter,

We need your help. Since the start of the pandemic, Wigtown Book Festival has been very lucky financially compared to a lot of organisations. We have some great public funders, committed local sponsors and very generous individuals supporting us.

But there’s no getting away from how important ticket sales are to us. They don’t just support the festival itself, but also all our other activities year-round. Last year - when we asked for donations instead of directly charging for tickets - our box office income was more than £100,000 less than usual. But, on the flip side, we had far fewer costs: no marquees, travel, accommodation, brochure print etc. The plusses and minuses more or less evened themselves out.

This year is different. Our box-office revenue is severely constrained because we were not in a position to take the risk of hiring the main marquee, given the impossibility of taking out insurance against Covid-related cancellation. With Covid restrictions, our total venue capacity at this autumn’s festival is around a third of usual. At the same time, the 2021 festival will again incur many of the fixed costs that a physical (as opposed to digital) festival entails.

Reluctantly - and temporarily - we decided we had no option but to raise ticket prices this year. But a substantial potential gap between income and outgoings remains, and the ongoing uncertainties regarding the pandemic also adds cause for concern. Because of this we have decided this week to launch a fundraising campaign, with the aim of raising £25,000 by the end of October, additional to box-office sales.

We are asking members of the public to Book It - And Spread the Word! The message is: if you value having the festival on your doorstep, please show your support by booking a ticket or buying a book from our bookshop. That way everyone wins.

If you were able to back us in this way, we would be hugely grateful. Not everyone is in a position to contribute financially. But you can also help us by spreading the word. Word of mouth has always been our most powerful advertisement and never more necessary than this year. You can be an invaluable ambassador and advocate for the book festival.

We are so looking forward to seeing so many familiar faces this autumn. This year’s event feels like a very special celebration. We are optimistic, too, that with your help we will weather the unique financial storm that all cultural organisations across the UK are facing.

We hope to see you in Wigtown, and if you can’t attend in person then be assured that many of the events will be simultaneously streamed online (free with suggested donation).

With all good wishes and thank you for your support,

The Wigtown Book Festival team

How to support us:

  • Click on the website Donate button. If you are a UK tax payer you can Gift Aid your donation to make it go further.
  • Buy books from our bookshop, online or in person. All profits support the festival and the margin for authors is usually greater than buying from online multinationals (no names!).
  • Become a Friend of the Festival for £25 annually or a Friend for Life for £250.

Every donation puts us in a better position to weather the challenges presented by Covid. We also recognise that so many people give their time or give in kind to help the festival. Thank you to everyone who supports us in whatever way.