Is this the final chapter for Milngavie book and arts festival?

Milngavie Bookshop owner Susan Frize'Photo Emma Mitchell'8/7/13
Milngavie Bookshop owner Susan Frize'Photo Emma Mitchell'8/7/13

This year’s Milngavie Book and Arts Festival has been cancelled due to a lack of support and funding to employ a project manager.

The owner of Milngavie Bookshop, Susan Frize, has run the popular festival for the past five years, but has made the painful decision to call it off this year.

The week-long event, which is usually held in marquees and other venues in the precinct and nearby, has attracted a host of well-known writers and artists to Milngavie over the years.

Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay opened the event last year. TV and radio presenter Kaye Adams and Milngavie’s interior designer and presenter of 60 Minute Makeover John Amabile, Viv Lumsden and Sally Magnusson have opened it in previous years.

Bearsden children’s author Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has appeared at the event, along with other well-known authors including Christopher Brookmyre, Irish journalist Fergal Keane, crime writer Mark Billingham, Sophie Hannah and Len Murray, to name just a few.

Susan (54) said: “I was very upset to begin with that we weren’t going to be able to hold the festival.

“However, it’s taken its toll on my physical health over the past few years and I just couldn’t do it again.

“It’s a real shame and people have been upset about it, but we’re going to hold events throughout the year and that will be much easier to manage.

“The most stressful thing was the amount of red tape we had to go through to organise events.

“We needed a licence from the council for everything and we had to give several months notice. I really needed another paid professional to do the job of managing the project, it was miles too much for me to do.

“I’d like to thank everyone who worked as volunteers over the years, their help was much appreciated, but I needed more traders to get involved.”

When Susan was planning the event in January no-one knew which primary schools would merge or close and the pupils made up half of the festival audience each year. The festival may return if traders win the Business Improvement District (BID) which would see traders join together to push through town centre improvements.