In an idle moment this week, I was trying to get to grips with who our visitors are and, without being too reductive, whether it’s possible to identify any specific categories of festival-goers.
A few facts: almost two thirds of “you” come from outside Dumfries & Galloway, with one in five of the total travelling from outside Scotland – mostly from England but also Ireland, Wales, Germany, Denmark and the US, among others.
Nationality is one thing: trying to establish what kind of people are attracted to the festival is much harder. Yes, there is the odd trend: visitors attracted almost exclusively to, say, our series about the natural world or events about Scotland’s politics and culture.
But the most noticeable thing from the orders coming is how delightfully eclectic so many of them seem to be and how hard it would be to assign them to any of those snappy shorthand categories so beloved of marketers: “Cultural nationalists”, “Metropolitan mavens”, “Retired radicals” and the like.
All of which is strangely comforting. Long may the Wigtown audience remain independent of spirit and broad of interest. Of course, if you’d like to define yourselves, we’d be interested in hearing, for fun, whatever marketing categories you felt you fitted into. A pair of free tickets to the best piece of self-description! Tweet to @WigtownBookFest or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adrian Turpin, Festival director