NessBookFest< Back to Shortlist

NessBookFest is a community book festival in Inverness. Started in 2016 by a small group of volunteers, the festival grew in 2017 to include 33 events taking place in venues across the city over four days.

The volunteers worked in partnership with other organisations across Inverness, including Gaelic institutions, schools, Archive Centre, Museum, library, Council, local drama groups, Eden Court Theatre and the University of the Highlands and Islands.

All the events were provided free to the community (but every writer and performer was paid fairly), despite the group suffering a major setback when its main funding application was unsuccessful with less than six weeks to go. The volunteers decided to plough ahead anyway, with renewed funding applications and a hugely successful crowdfunding appeal, which resulted in a high level of community engagement.

They also secured a free unit in the Victorian Market as a base during the festival, giving the festival a strong presence in the heart of the community.

Events were hosted in a range of venues, including cafes, pubs, artists’ studio, garden centre - wherever felt relevant. This inspired people to visit places they had not discovered before. Many local individuals and businesses have asked to partner with the festival this year, in recognition of the fact it is offering something unique, personal and community driven.  

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