ORGANISERS have made the "very difficult decision" to postpone this year's Outwith Festival until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Delivering Dunfermline held an extensive consultation with Fife Council and national bodies before cancelling the six-day arts and music festival that was set for September.

Health concerns around mass gatherings and international travel restrictions were key factors in the decision being reached.

The new plan is for Outwith Festival to go ahead in September 2021 from Tuesday 7 to Sunday 12.

Chris Foote, Delivering Dunfermline, said: "Thanks to everyone who bought tickets – we’re very grateful to them for supporting this festival.

"So much hard work and planning by the community has gone into this event.

"We’re especially disappointed for our town – for the 23 venues that would have been hosting events, for the performers, organisers, volunteers and for the audiences that have so far made this a brilliant annual festival.

“However, there are much more important challenges facing us all at the moment. Our thoughts go out to all those who have been directly affected by the pandemic.

“We look forward to safer times ahead and to welcoming audiences back to the festival. In the meantime, we’re working closely with funders to help support next year’s event.

“Behind the scenes we’ll also be working online with local artists, musicians and performers to support the development of their work and create a programme for 2021.

"Later in the year there will also be announcements on the line-up planned for next September and, hopefully, when safe to do so, plans for some exciting special one-off shows.

“We would like to thank all of the festival partners, Fife Council, supporters and fans for their continued support and would like to wish the wider community all the best during this difficult time.”

Those who have already bought tickets for this year’s festival will be able to request a refund or transfer their tickets to 2021. The ONFife box office will be emailing ticket-holders as soon as possible with details.

Dunfermline’s Outwith Festival launched in September 2017 and has doubled in size each year, becoming one of the most anticipated events on the Dunfermline and West Fife calendar.

Audiences of 9,000 attended 74 film, music, comedy, literature, theatre and art events in 23 venues with more than 300 performances at last year's festival. In 2018, the economic impact achieved was £155,000 and this doubled to £334,000 in 2019.