Organisers of the annual Nairn Book and Arts Festival are planning to take a large part of the event outdoors for September 2021.
The move comes following feedback from the festival’s audiences via an online survey.
A large majority have stated a preference for outdoor events where social distancing requirements could be adhered to.
Around half said they would also be happy to go to indoor events if socially distanced, but with a strong preference for small numbers of people attending.
Online talks and exhibitions also proved a popular alternative to live events, with over a third of respondents happy to attend onscreen events.
Newly-appointed chairman of the festival Alex Williamson said: “After what has been a very challenging year for everyone, we thought it was really important to ask our audiences what sort of festival they would feel comfortable attending next year.
“The feedback we’ve had is that, at this time of uncertainty, people generally feel safest at smaller-scale outdoor events.
“While we were delighted with the support for this year’s online mini-festival, which helped us to reach new audiences, our survey also showed that people are desperate for live music and performance.”
He added: “Many respondents also described missing the social aspect and shared experiences of a ‘live’ festival.
“So that will be our focus when planning for next year – to stage a fear-free, fun festival that the whole community can enjoy.
“For next year, we are particularly keen to bring the festival’s creative vibrancy to the High Street and are talking to a number of local organisations to find ways to make this happen.
“We hope to continue working with Nairn Community and Arts Centre, our long-standing festival partner, while bringing forward a high-quality online offering featuring authors from across the country, live music and performance and showcases for local creative groups.
“We are also looking for more members of the community to get involved – as participants, committee members or volunteers – so if you want to be part of planning next year’s festival, do get in touch.
“Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who completed the survey – we can’t wait to share our plans for 2021 with you. Watch this space.”