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Nairn Book and Arts Festival to get streetwise with a planned takeover of the High Street in September featuring pop-up exhibitions and performance poetry as highlights

By Donald Wilson

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Alex Williamson.
Alex Williamson.

Pop-up exhibitions, immersive theatre and performance poetry are some of the highlights of Nairn Book and Arts Festival’s planned takeover of Nairn High Street in September.

Organisers say this year‘s environmentally-themed festival will be one of the most accessible so far, with free-to-attend events supporting the community after months of living with Covid-19.

Chair Alex Williamson says that the festival is being carefully planned to be enjoyed in a safe, socially distanced way.

Mr Williamson said: “After scaling back last year’s festival to an online event, we said we would only return with a live festival if the community wanted it – and if it could be enjoyed in a safe way.

“Right now, things still look uncertain – but by September, with the vaccine roll-out well underway, there could be scope to deliver a limited live festival programme.

“We really want to give local people something to look forward to after potentially another year of disruption.

“Key for us will be working closely with our supporters and stakeholders to ensure that the event can be delivered in a safe, sensible way – while showcasing the creative energy in our town."

The festival committee plans to take art 'out of the gallery and into the community'.

“We also want to make sure that the festival does more to support those businesses who have had to close during the lockdown, many of whom have been incredibly generous to us in the past.

Mr Williamson added: “Longer term, we believe that creative projects like this can help bring people back to the High Street and help to ensure that our high streets continue to have a role to play as a community hub.

“If you look at other towns like Invergordon, West Kilbride and Wigtown – or even a few miles down the A96 in Forres – creative projects have had a huge impact.

“We believe that we can do something similar for Nairn if we all work together.”

However Mr Alexander said funding would be needed and that would be a challenge.

“As a charitable organisation, we are reliant on donations and sponsorship to get our free-to-attend events off the ground.

“We’ve just relaunched our website where people can find information about how to support us.

Nairn Book and Arts Festival returns on 4-12 September 2021.

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