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Spring Fling in full flow across D&G

Natalie has travelled from her home in The Hague to take part in Spring Fling Credit: Colin Hattersley

Scotland's premier arts and crafts festival, Spring Fling, is well underway across Dumfries and Galloway.

A total of 95 studios are taking part in this year's event, which is now in it's 13th year, with artists coming from all over Europe.

As part of the festival, many artists who no longer live in the region are encouraged to return to their roots through the 'Spingback' scheme.

This year Natalie McIlroy, whose family are in Langholm, has returned from her home in The Hague to display some of her work. Her exhibition at the Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries features pieces from four different national and international projects.

“I do a lot of travelling and international residencies and this is a great chance to come back to this area and show the work I’ve been doing. It’s really important to return to your roots, it makes you realise how much home influences your work wherever you are.

“And these days Dumfries and Galloway is such an exciting place for the arts and gives so much support. In the last few days I have been talking to young artists here who are involved with some brilliant projects."

– Natalie McIlroy, Artist

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Annual Spring Fling kicks off in Dumfries and Galloway

Diana de Gruyther by the sign pointing out her studio, which is one of 94 open to visitors Credit: Collin Hattersley

Thousands of visitors are expected to head for Dumfries and Galloway today for this weekend's annual Spring Fling festival.

A total of 94 studios across the region are set to welcome people from all over the UK and overseas for the visual art and craft event.

This year's festival is also hoping to attract food lovers.

Union J confirmed for Dumfries' Youth Beatz

Union J competed in the 2012 X factor Credit: PA

Union J are among three acts confirmed to headline this year's Youth Beatz in Dumfries.

Scouting for Girls and Neon Jungle will also join the 2012 X factor competitors on the stage at the Dock Park on Saturday 8 August.

Neon Jungle and Scouting for Girls are also set to take the stage Credit: PA

Thousands of young people are expected to attend the event, which is Scotland's largest free youth music event.

Dumfries and Galloway Council says there will also be a host of events across Nithsdale on the six days leading up to the main day.

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X Factor auditions in Carlisle

Cumbrians who dream of a music career will be given the chance to impress the industry's talent spotters today.

The X factor pod will be at The Lanes Shopping Centre in Carlisle from 10.30am and anyone who wants to audition simply has to just turn up.

Any acts who impress the talent team will be in with a chance of auditioning in front of The X factor judges this summer.

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