Bookends fes­ti­val suc­cess sees vis­i­tor num­bers dou­ble

The Oban Times - - LEISURE - by Kathie Grif­fiths kgrif­fiths@oban­times.co.uk

Num­bers of vis­i­tors to Ben­der­loch Book Fes­ti­val dou­bled this year.

Or­gan­is­ers have hailed the lit­er­ary week and its fringe event a huge suc­cess.

It will be back with more in 2019, in­clud­ing an au­thor liv­ing in In­ver­arary who wrote the Hayes Manuel for as­tro­nauts.

Bookends founder Joy Cameron said: ‘Once again there will be some­thing for ev­ery­one. Po­etry to sto­ry­telling, broad­cast­ers to jour­nal­ists – even a man who is an ex­pert on as­tro­nauts.’

She added: ‘We’ve had won­der­ful feed­back from vis­i­tors and au­thors. We are quite di­verse for a lit­tle fes­ti­val. We don’t fol­low a theme. I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted that peo­ple who came have all said what a great fes­ti­val we have here. Some peo­ple just came to read a book, oth­ers came to five or six events.

‘We counted 1,400 peo­ple in but there were many who we didn’t count com­ing through the doors. We’ve eas­ily dou­bled num­bers from last year. We’ve had au­di­ences of 80-plus for some events.’

Au­thor Mor­ven-May MacCal­lum, who spoke about her book Find­ing Joy and vis­ited pupils at Oban High School as part of the fes­ti­val’s out­reach pro­gramme, said: ‘It was my ab­so­lute plea­sure to be a part of this in­cred­i­ble fes­ti­val and out­reach pro­gramme. Or­gan­ised by the warm­est, most wel­com­ing, revo­lu­tion­ary group of peo­ple ... you can’t help but feel at home in this kind com­mu­nity. I can’t wait to see what Bookends will ex­pand into next. Bookends is a fes­ti­val that I feel very proud to have been a part of.’

The Fringe ended on Fri­day with a per­for­mance by singer/ song­writer Chris Ben­nett and then a 101_style rant from a Grumpy Old Women panel bol­stered by au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion putting the world to rights.

And as part of the grand fi­nale, there was a sur­prise for the Vic­tory Hall’s vet­eran vol­un­teer bar­man Gor­don Cruick­shank, of Hill­side, Ben­der­loch.

Each year Mr Cruick­shank’s sup­port is re­warded with a cel­e­bra­tion. This year fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers com­mis­sioned a spe­cial tune in his hon­our from world cham­pion piper An­gus MacColl who rounded off the night with it.

Young reader Beth won a £20 Water­stones gift voucher for com­ing up with the win­ning ti­tle for a book.

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