South Scotland

Eden Festival organisers deny councillor drug use claims

Raehills Image copyright Chris Newman
Image caption The Eden Festival takes place at Raehills, near Moffat, every year

Claims that an annual music event is becoming a "fringe festival for drug use" have been rejected as "completely unsubstantiated" by organisers.

Councillor Gail MacGregor made the comments after the Eden Festival, based near Moffat, secured a grant of £8,000.

She said Dumfries and Galloway Council had to keep a "really close eye on any hint of excessive drug use".

Organisers denied the claim and added it had been shortlisted for Best Family Festival at the UK Festival Awards.

The council agreed to give financial support to the event as part of its major events strategy.

However, the Conservative councillor voiced concerns about the festival.

"Certainly I think with public funding, we should support the Eden Festival and many others," she said.

"But I know there were issues with the police last year.

"There were issues with drugs - and it seems to be becoming a wee bit of a fringe festival for drug use, you know, clearly the music side, and people having fun and families is absolutely brilliant.

"But I think we, as an authority, need to keep a really close eye on any hint of excessive drug use - particularly at these nice little rural festivals, because it could pull it down."

'One arrest'

A response from organisers dismissed the comments as "completely unsubstantiated".

"Eden Festival has, in the last year, been shortlisted for the Best Family Festival at the UK Festival Awards, as well as The Guardian's Top 20 Family Festivals and the Lonely Planet Guide's Top 10 Festivals in Europe," it said.

It added that the festival brought more tourists, most of them families, to Annandale than any other event.

"The event is supported by the council and works with local school pupils who perform at the festival," it said.

"Eden Festival also holds one of the best records in the UK with only one drug-related arrest in six years."

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