Peebles Arts Festival led by new-look team

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ORGANISERS of the new-look Peebles Arts Festival are promising 2013’s event will be better than ever, writes Kenny Paterson.

Among the new team putting together the festival – which runs from Friday, August 23 to Sunday, September 1 – is new chairman Douglas Roberts.

He will aim to use his experience, in collaboration with the Eastgate Theatre, to create the theatre programme for this year’s festival.

Sandra Grieve, who has been appointed as overall festival co-ordinator, will bring her extensive marketing and promotion experience to the job.

Other new committee members include Mark Gillham and Hannah Jefferson, who will co-ordinate the film and literature side of things and Janet Dutch who takes over as treasurer.

Sandra said: “Committee members each have a role in pulling together a particular arts-related programme, including new literature, film and tour programmes. The overall festival programme will be broader than in recent years and will also include opportunities for festival-goers and local schools to get involved in a range of arts-related workshops.

“The main aim of the festival has always been to encourage and promote participation in the arts, and the committee is hoping to work with as many local arts organisations as possible.

“One of the festival’s key strengths is that it is currently the only cross-platform multi-arts festival in the Borders and the committee aims to build on that strength by attracting more visitors from the rest of the south of Scotland and the north of England, directly benefitting local businesses.”

Douglas added: “Peebles Arts Festival has been promoting and showcasing the arts in Peebles for more than 30 years.

“During that time we have established a loyal following and an excellent reputation amongst the community. We now want to ensure that all the local arts organisations are involved in the festival and we are trying to have conversations with them all soon.

“We would urge anyone that would like to be involved to contact us directly.”

Last year’s festivities saw a wide range of events held – from whisky poetry and tasting, music from New Orleans band Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns, puppet shows and theatre, looking at the relationship between Robert Burns and Peebles’ own Robert Chambers.

There was also an arts exhibition and even blacksmith demonstrations for visitors to the Tweeddale town to take in.

If any arts organisations or local businesses would like to find out more about how they could be involved in or support Peebles Arts Festival they can contact either Sandra or Douglas by email at or phone 07718 296707.