Blog: SNP to fork out £11m for unheralded ‘Brexit Festival’ which involves ‘floating dandelion garden’ – Scottish Daily Express

The SNP will fork out £11m to support the renamed and UK-wide “Brexit Festival”, with one of their key events already being held without much fanfare.

All four UK nations are contributing to the Unboxed Festival which was formally known as the Festival of Brexit and was announced by Theresa May to celebrate getting out of the EU.

Its total cost is reported to be £120m which is being shared by all governments, with the Scottish Government contributing £11m between 2021 and 2023.

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Events are due to be held between March and September this year, with each nation being allowed to put their own spin on the events.

In Scotland, it has involved the creation of Dandelion Festival, a celebration of spring harvests throughout the country. It is due to have two flagship events, with one already haven taken place in Glasgow this summer.

Steve Burn tends to the plants on the unique Floating Garden boat.
(Image: Andrew Cawley)

Held in Kelvingrove Park, the free event was reported to have had more than 20,000 visitors across the weekend of June 18 and 19.

But except from local news reports, no one seemed to know the celebration existed, even though they managed to get Newton Faulkner to play a free performance.

They also spent £50,000 on creating a “floating dandelion garden” which has toured about Scotland’s canals and was paid a visit by Scottish Greens MSP Patrick Harvie.

It is set to be the showpiece of their final event which will take place in Inverness in September and be a folk celebration of the summer harvest.

The aim of the Dandelion festival is to persuade Scots to live more sustainably with attendees at the Glasgow festival being given free plants to grow.

Patrick Harvie at the Dandelion Scotland Floating Garden.
(Image: Scottish Government)

But the Inverness version is once again staying off the national news radar, with only local news picking up on the fact it is coming to the city.

There has been no mention in any of the advertising that it is an offshoot of the promised Brexit Festival introduced by the Tories or that it has cost an extortionate amount of money.

The breakdown of the cost is:

  • Dandelion project commission – £7.08 million net (£8.5m gross incl. VAT)
  • Commissioning, governance, management, and engagement. Contribution to wider shared programme activities; including learning and participation resources, marketing, digital and communications, evaluation and monitoring, international engagement– £2.14 million net (£2.5m gross incl. VAT)

Scottish Government quango EventScotland were chosen to run the entire commission which is due to end in September of this year.

Dandelion Festival main stage

Across the UK, there will be ten major projects at sites, including a “tour de moon”, an “oasis of plants” in Birmingham and an art installation on a disused oil rig off Weston-super-Mare.

It has been described as a “waste of public money” and “set for failure” by the UK Government’s cross party-culture media and sport select committee but that has not stopped the Scottish Government ploughing £11m into it.

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