THE organisers of the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival in Melrose from June 16-19 have teamed up with a local preparatory school in a bid to ease the disappointment of Borderers who were unable to purchase tickets for four of the event’s most popular shows.
Within hours of going on sale in April, tickets to see broadcaster Michael Parkinson, comedian Rory Bremner and actors Maureen Lipman and Tom Conti – all appearing in the main Festival Marquee in the grounds of Harmony House – had sold out.
But festival founder and director Alistair Moffat admitted this week he had some misgivings about the record-breaking demand for these and many other events and the numbers of fans who were left without tickets.
“The key to our festival has always been inclusivity, so we were left feeling a wee bit sorry for those folk who have supported us, but lost out in the stampede for tickets,” said Mr Moffat this week.
So, from its humble beginnings eight years ago, the festival is set to expand – literally.
Mr Moffat revealed that, courtesy of St Mary’s School in Melrose, the Parkinson, Bremner, Lipman and Conti shows will be screened via the miracle of live television to the school’s Morrison Hall, 100 yards away from the festival’s main venue on St Mary’s Road.
“We’re expanding – but only over the wall and only because demand for tickets has been so intense,” said Mr Moffat.
“The ticket prices for the four screened shows will be slashed to £6 and those in the Morrison Hall will be able to ask questions via another miracle – the radio – and, at the end of show, have the chance to walk to Harmony Gardens and meet Michael, Rory, Maureen and Tom as they sign copies of their books.
“We want as many people as possible to share the magic of the festival and savour the unique atmosphere of Harmony.”
To book the £6 Morrison Hall tickets see the panel alongside: