WITH just a week to go until the start of the ninth annual Borders Book Festival, the star-studded event has received a major boost.
It was confirmed this week that investment fund management firm Brewin Dolphin, which has been the headline sponsor of the Melrose literary extravaganza since 2010, will continue in that role for the next three years.
“We are delighted to extend our sponsorship of the festival,” said Brewin Dophin’s divisional director Jonathan Tweedie. “We enjoy our association with the event tremendously and look forward to it each year.
“As it continues to grow in stature and its impact on the culture, economy and community spirit within this important area of Scotland further deepens, it increases our opportunity not only to build awareness of our company, but to engage directly with our clients, many of whom, like me, are avid book readers.”
This year, Mr Tweedie will take on an on-stage role, chairing a number of sessions and becoming a judge for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which is a personal interest of his.
The sponsorship deal coincides with a new report from Bookfestival Scotland, the umbrella body for Scotland’s book festivals, which underlines the economic value of such events on their host communities.
The survey shows that, on average, 23 per cent of respondents stay overnight in the area when attending book festivals, with the average length of stay being 3.5 nights, and 71 per cent of respondents stay with local accommodation providers, such as hotels and B&Bs.
Mr Tweedie told us: “Brewin Dolphin is well known for its sponsorship of events such as the Scottish Schools Cup, which is well represented by rugby teams from the Borders.
“But we are also keen to develop further our association with the cultural life of the region. The Borders Book Festival, with its focus on great books and lively debate, provides the perfect opportunity for us to do so.”
Festival director Alistair Moffat told TheSouthern: “We are delighted to have the ongoing support and commitment of our title sponsor Brewin Dolphin, which supports us not just financially, but in a myriad of ways behind the scenes.
“The sponsors of the festival are not just supporting local cultural life, they are supporting the bringing of vital economic benefits to the region. Without our sponsors, the festival simply could not go on and a huge benefit to the region would be lost.”
Other sponsors of the festival, which takes place in the gardens of Harmony House from June 14 to 17, include the Ancrum-based Scottish Borders Brewery, which is also stepping up its sponsorship this year.
Brewery owner John Henderson commented: ”The Borders Book Festival provides a way for us to showcase our plough-to-pint real ales in the Borders and beyond as the event attracts visitors from across central Scotland and the north of England.
“Last year we received a fabulous response to the brewery concept and to our beers and even Sir Michael Parkinson and Rory Bremner enjoyed a pint.
“In 2012 we are increasing our support to sponsor a whole marquee, which provides us with far stronger branding and sales opportunities. We are also keen, as a local producer, to support an event that helps to put the Borders on the cultural map and highlights the area’s impressive literary credentials.”
Other businesses continuing to build their profiles through festival sponsorship include estate agents Knight Frank, which again sponsors the Family Book Festival on Saturday and Sunday, commercial law firm Davidson Chalmers, which sponsors the storytelling marquee and the Write On! Competition, and Jura Single Malt Whisky, the new backer of the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize this year.
Presentation of the prize, hosted by broadcaster and journalist Kirsty Wark, takes place in the main festival marquee on Saturday, June 16, at 1.30pm.
The festival also enjoys support from a wide range of local businesses, from chartered tax advisers Stark Main (Selkirk) and Brett Investment (Melrose) to Countryside Kitchens (Kelso) and The Square Vine (Melrose).
Just a few tickets left…
With an estimated 10,000 tickets sold, the festival site is sure to be a hive of activity, but there are still tickets left for a number of exciting events.These include:
• Adventurer Mark Beaumont (Festival Marquee, Thursday June 14 at 6pm)
• Novelist Andrew Miller (Scottish Borders Brewery Marquee, Saturday, June 16 at 7.45pm)
• Thriller writer Chris Brookmyre (Scottish Borders Brewery Marquee, Saturday, June 16 at 9.15pm)
• SAS hero Andy McNab (Festival Marquee, Sunday, June 17 at 4.30pm)
• Novelist Patrick Gale (Scottish Borders Brewery Marquee, Sunday, June 17 at 6.15pm)
• Former test cricketer Ed Smith, in conversation with Rory Bremner (Scottish Borders Brewery Marquee, Sunday, June 17, at 7.45pm)