31,000 visitors for Book Festival

Borders Book Festival 2017. The annual book festival in the gardens of Harmony House, Melrose. 
Picture by Alex Hewitt.
Borders Book Festival 2017. The annual book festival in the gardens of Harmony House, Melrose. Picture by Alex Hewitt.

The 2017 Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival has broken all previous records, attracting almost 31,000 visitors and bringing in around £2.3million to the Borders economy – an increase of 29.5% on 2016.

Almost 90% of this year’s visitors rated their festival experience as excellent or very good; more than 32% of the visitors coming from outside the Scottish Borders, a percentage that has significantly increased in the last years.

Festival director and founder of the event, Alistair Moffat, said: “From very small beginnings in Melrose, 13 years ago, when just under 300 people came to four events, the festival has blossomed.

“It clearly injects a massive amount of economic activity into the Borders and that is good for jobs and businesses. But just as important, it also enriches our lives beyond anything I could have imagined.

“It sprinkles stardust on us all. John Cleese, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley and many other international stars have joined writers of unrivalled brilliance such as Hilary Mantel, Melvyn Bragg and Frederick Forsyth.”

Director, Paula Ogilvie, added: “The festival embraces all sorts of groups and interests.

“Our offering has been deliberately diverse from the very beginning with artists such as Evelyn Glennie, politicians like Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg alongside the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.

“In addition we organise a family book festival, a schools gala day, free outdoor family entertainment, a street market for local producers and a food and drink village. There is something for everyone.”