The Bloody Scotland festival is to offer free tickets to unemployed people or those on low incomes as part of a scheme to reach new audiences.
The festival, which takes place in Stirling from 11th to 13th September, will give away standby tickets on the day of events if there is good availability, defined as there being more than 10 tickets available for sale.
If the scheme works festival organisers plan to encourage other festivals to employ something similar.
Festival manager Dom Hastings said: “The idea to do this came out of a conversation with another author at a book festival.
“We were talking about how book festivals are really well attended, but it’s often the same - or same sort of - audiences you see time and again, and as festival organisers we maybe don’t do as much as we could to try and change that.
“We talked about what we could do, and what the barriers are for people coming to book festivals, and decided that price is a factor for many people.”
Tickets for Bloody Scotland cost £9.50 for events at the Albert Halls and £7.50 for all other events. People wanting standby tickets will have to bring proof of eligibility, and tickets are limited to one per person.
“Many readers are on zero hours contracts, low incomes, or unemployed altogether, so the Bloody Scotland team thought we’d take a chance and try and include them and see if that could help change the profile of the audience,” Hastings said. “We’re doing it as a trial this year and then we’re going to study the data, and if it does work we’re going to take the data to other festivals and encourage them to try it too.”
Suitable proof of eligibility includes documents to confirm that the customer is a benefit claimant or other proof that they are on a low income. Users will need to register so that Bloody Scotland can monitor uptake of the initiative.
Authors including Peter May, Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Arne Dahl and Martina Cole will appear at this year’s festival.