By Democrat reporter

West Dunbartonshire will host a brand new exciting four-day festival to celebrate the history and heritage of Dumbarton this summer.

Dumbarton Festival, which will run from  4-7 June, will be part of celebrations for Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

The packed programme will include a range of family friendly events celebrating the area’s coastal history.

Representatives from West Dunbartonshire Council, The Dumbarton Castle Society and VisitScotland came together to officially launch the festival and start the countdown to its official opening on Thursday 4 June.

With the waterfront as a backdrop, artists and national companies will join local schools and community groups to reinvigorate the town’s maritime history. The themes of Build, Float, and Connect will run through the festival’s programme of activities for all ages, underlining Dumbarton’s location as a River Town.

During the event, residents and visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy pop-up opera from Scottish Opera, boat races, street theatre, live music, Hidden Dumbarton walks, family games and much more, with a community parade closing the festival on the Sunday afternoon.

The weekend will also mark the launch of a new Dumbarton Rowing Club on the River Leven, in partnership with charity Alternatives, and tea-themed events to celebrate the Cutty Sark and clippers.

All of the items on the programme have been themed to tie in with Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, and will celebrate Dumbarton’s long-standing relationship with water as well as a range of tea-themed events paying tribute to Dumbarton’s ship-building heritage, including the Cutty Sark and clippers.

Alongside the main programme the weekend will also mark the launch of a new Dumbarton Rowing Club on the River Leven, in partnership with charity Alternatives.

The popular Rock of Ages event at Dumbarton Castle will return for its sixth year celebrating Vikings, Longships and water based activities during Dumbarton Festival on 6 and 7 of June.

Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development at West Dunbartonshire Council, said: “We are very proud to host Dumbarton Festival, and are looking forward to welcoming residents and visitors from near and far to enjoy such a range of fantastic events. The festival will showcase the very best our town has to offer and highlight our wonderful coastal and maritime heritage.

“With under six months to go now until the festival kicks off, I think I speak for everybody when I say the excitement is really building and I hope everyone joins us in June to celebrate.”

Paul Neeson from the Castle Society,  who chairs the Dumbarton Festival Planning Group, said: “The Festival Group has been planning this event since 2017, and the additional support from EventScotland will now enable us to deliver a really high quality event and reach audiences from further afield as well as help us reconnect with those living in other Dumbarton towns all over the world.

“We have many reasons to be proud of Dumbarton, including the recent regeneration of Levengrove Park, the Municipal buildings, the new council offices and renovated courthouse. The festival is the perfect way to showcase how we are regenerating the area and bringing our past together with our future.”

David Adams McGilp, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “Alongside our wealth of wonderful attractions, scenery and wildlife, in 2020 Scotland will host an exciting array of both existing and brand new events set to put our coasts and waters in the spotlight.

“These celebrations will help to showcase our people, our places and indeed the country across the globe.  Dumbarton Festival will be a great opportunity to honour how water has shaped the historic town through a range of exciting music, art and fun for all the family – definitely one to add to the new 2020 calendars!”

There will be opportunities for local organisations, businesses  and groups to participate in the festival, with further details expected to be released later this month.

For more information or to get in touch, please visit

The Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 began on 1 January 2020 and will run until 31 December 2020.

Throughout the year, Scotland will celebrate its coasts and waters with a year-long programme of events and activities which will shine a spotlight on these vital elements of our landscape.  

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