Knitting Festival will bring up to 3,000 visitors to Inverness Loch Ness in 2016
- Issued by Visit Inverness Loch Ness
As many as 3,000 additional visitors could be attracted to the Inverness Loch Ness area next year, as the city and surrounds hosts the first ever Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival, tourism organisation Visit Inverness Loch Ness has announced.
The four day festival, which will be held at Eden Court and other venues across the area from September 29th 2016, will boast a packed programme of crafty events with everything from knitting themed exhibitions, lectures and film screenings to fashion shows and workshops.
Hosts venues for the festival, which will take place during VisitScotland’s ‘Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design’, include the historic Culloden Battlefield, picturesque Inverness Botanic Gardens, the luxurious Kingsmills Hotel and even Loch Ness itself, with the help of the Loch Ness by Jacobite cruise fleet.
The event is based on the Strikkefestival created by Danish international knit wear designer Christel Seyfarth, which has been running for a decade now and attracts over 7,500 attendees from across the world to the small Danish island of Fano each year, boosting the local economy by over £4M.
The Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival will also build on local traditions of working with wool in all its forms and be managed by a collaboration of Visit Inverness Loch Ness and Christel Seyfarth art knits together with several local organisations including Cobbs, Planit Scotland and Highland Wool and Textiles. The event is supported by the Highland Council and Event Scotland.
Cobbs’ Willie Cameron, who was instrumental in bringing the festival to the area for 2016, said: ”When I first heard Christel Seyfarth tell her story about her Knitting Festival in Fano in Denmark I immediately thought of the Highlands and Islands and our long tradition of spinning wool, weaving and knitting.
“It made me think of our dark period in Highland history when the people were put off the land to make way for sheep as that was the currency of its day, and stimulated economic growth – but with the Knitting Festival we are going to reverse that role and bring the people back in the form of International tourists. We hope many will come to enjoy the festival and embrace the scenery and cultural experience of the Highlands and also contribute to the economic benefit of the area, before leaving with fond memories and plans to return.”
Chair of The Highland Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Audrey Sinclair said: “With programmes such as “The Great British Bake Off” and “MasterChef” we’ve seen a recent surge in interest in traditional skills and it would appear that knitting is no exception. With the original International Knitting Festival in Denmark now attracting over 7,000 people each year we are delighted that their first expansion overseas will see the festival come to Inverness. The fit with both the tradition of Highland knitwear and crafts and 2016’s designation as Scotland’s Year of Architecture, Innovation and Design makes it all the more relevant that we welcome this event in 2016. As a lifelong knitter, I personally am looking forward to the festival coming to Inverness.”
Knitting festival organisers will now be working with hotels, tourist attractions and local talent to help ensure that the festival and associated publicity showcases all the very best of what the Highlands has to offer in terms of art, music and hospitality, with highlights of the Inverness Loch Ness Knitting Festival programme set to include a gala dinner and concert of music which draws its inspiration from the area.
There will also be an opportunity for knitting enthusiasts to get involved before the event as organisers plan to attempt a world record by filling Dores beach with knitted Nessies in the run up to the event – and will be appealing for local SWI, community groups, schools and individuals to get their needles out and get involved.
Anyone interested in attending the event or taking part in the world record attempt can register their interest now at www.lochnessknitfest.com to ensure they receive all the latest news and updates in the run up to the event.