Music festival delivers economic boost for Isles

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The Eilean Dorcha Festival generated more than £500,000 for the Uist economy, according to an independent economic assessment.

The two-day festival was held on the Isle of Benbecula on July 27 and 28 with headliners Hunter and the Bear, Beinn Lee and Trail West.

The research was undertaken by MKA Economics, Stirling. Economic assessment highlights show 3,374 attended the festival over the weekend, a 12 per cent increase on 2017; visitor spend is estimated at £522,417, a jump of 24 per cent on the £420,000 spent in 2017; 50 per cent who attended Eilean Dorcha were local; and 20 per cent of those who travelled to the festival were making their first visit to the Outer Hebrides.

The research also showed that 73 per cent of visitors stayed on the Uists for more than three nights, compared to 61 per cent in 2017 and more than 85 per cent of respondents rated the festival experience as either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.

Eilean Dorcha Festival development manager Roddy MacKay said: ‘It is our first priority to put on a great show and offer fun activities for individuals of all ages, so it is great to know we attracted a record crowd, with the vast majority rating the festival experience as either very good or excellent.

‘In addition to the overall experience, it is important EDF delivers a substantial economic benefit for local businesses. It is encouraging to understand that our visitor numbers are increasing, people are staying for longer and wish to come back to the islands, and that they delivered an incredible local spend of more than half a million pounds.

‘It is our ambition to build on this success, enhance the festival experience even further, and make Eilean Dorcha Festival an unmissable occasion and the islands a must-visit destination.

‘EDF would like to place on record our thanks to all our sponsors, funders and volunteers without whom the event simply could not happen.

‘We would welcome local people or businesses to get in touch with us if they would like to know more about getting involved with the festival next year in any capacity, whether trading, volunteering, performing or sponsorship.’