The largest commercial sponsor says it is “reviewing” its commitment to funding the Royal National Mod in 2019.
As the event in Dunoon closes today an estimated £2.5 million has been brought to the local economy in the west coast town over the week-long festival.
But the cost of organising, hosting and running the event is met by An Comunn Gàidhealach, through a mixture of commercial and public funding – including service level agreements with three local authorities.
It has been confirmed to the Press and Journal that the current annual funding from the biggest commercial partner, CalMac, will come to an end next year. But it is understood the arrangement, in place with the ferry operator since 2002, is likely to continue.
In a speech earlier this week, Robbie Drummond, CalMac’s chief executive said: “We are intrinsically linked with the Royal National Mod.
“Not only do we bring people on ferries to the events to where ever the Royal National Mod is Scotland, many of our staff are ingrained in the traditions of the event and are competing, their children are taking part or they are being part of a wider audience.”
Brian Fulton, director of community and stakeholder engagement at CalMac, said: ”The Mod is an important event to CalMac providing a unique opportunity to meet with customers and community representatives from across our network, and at the same time highlighting our support for Gaelic language and culture.
“Our current commitment includes the 2019 Mod in Glasgow after which we will review our support, as we do with all of our major sponsorships, to ensure it is fulfilling our needs.”
John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach said: “An Comunn Gàidhealach have a number of funding streams that help us to stage the Royal National Mòd every year.
“Part of our funding comes through local authorities who we have secure agreements with until 2022, which we fully welcome as it allows us to plan well in advance.
“We also work closely with our other partners and sponsors on a rolling year-on-year basis, as well as forecasting commercial revenues through our own resources.”
It was understood that in return for Events Scotland and other public-body funding a requirement for proving an increase in the numbers speaking Gaelic was required, however, Mr Morrison explained: “Although we do not set specific targets around the number of Gaelic speakers we have at the Mòd, the ambitions of An Comunn are shared with several of our partners, in that we work together towards growing the amount of Gaelic language speakers, and overall fluency, across Scotland and beyond, as we’ve seen in recent years.”
New attraction to the Gaelic tongue
The number of bids to host the Royal National Mod is on the increase, thanks to legislation to protect the language.
As local authorities in Scotland are required to develop a Gaelic Language Plan, the attractiveness of hosting the annual Royal National Mod increases.
Allan Campbell, President of An Comunn Gàidhealach, explained: “For local authorities, the Mòd is always going to be attractive, as it brings thousands of people to the community in the late shoulder months of the tourist season.
“This has ultimately led to an increase in bids for the National Mòd, not just because of the strong economic benefits, but also because it helps local authorities meet some of their commitments to the National Gaelic Language Plan which will ultimately aims to support and grow the language across Scotland.”
“The Royal National Mòd is an ideal platform for those working with the National Gaelic Language Plan as it provides outreach for the language to rural and urban areas. The favorable media reaction from the Mòd each year continues to support a positive image of our language, music and culture.
“As well as that, The Royal National Mòd continues to support Gaelic education, as we saw here on Monday and Tuesday, with around 1500 children taking part in competitions, which ultimately has a multiplier effect as the language spreads through each child’s family.”
During Friday at the Royal National Mod a announcement is usually made on the location of a future competition.
But after last year’s double announcement it was only revealed today the exact location for the next three competitions.
John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach said: “Friday normally brings with it the next Mòd host announcement, but last year we altered the programme and announced that Perth would host Mòd 2021 and Paisley would host Mòd 2022. The host for 2023 will be announced at next year’s Mòd in Glasgow.”
It is understood a number of Scottish cities are vying for the biggest moving Arts and Culture event in Scotland.