A weekend of fun and folk in Girvan

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GIRVAN Traditional Folk Festival will be striking up this weekend, with a full programme of concerts, sessions, open stage, competitions, storytelling, workshops and children’s events.

This year promises a full weekend of fun for all the family. Visitors and locals will be soaking up the informal and spontaneous atmosphere which makes Girvan unique on the folk circuit.

The festival, which has been running for 38 years, features several up-and-coming young performers and with extra venues it looks like being an exciting weekend.

Festival musical director Maggie MacRae said: “We are looking forward to another great festival. We have featured several young folk performers, which is very reassuring for the future of the festival and traditional music in Scotland.

“It would be nice to get the same brilliant sunshine we got last year so that the sessions can spill over outside and make happen these wonderful informal experiences that rarely, if ever, are surpassed by any other festival. “We also have new venues keen to welcome the folk players and singers, so the informal sessions of the festival are expanding yet again this year.

“The storytelling element is also expanding, with the visit of several French story tellers from Torcy.”

This year’s artists include the Barbara Dymock Band, Sara Grey and Kieron Means, Cathal Clohessy and Eamonn Costello, Adam McCulloch Trio, The Sanna, Marie Chiff’mine, Alistair Ogilvie, Lucy Pringle, Tommy McCarthy, John McCreadie, Phyllis Martin, Finbar Magee, Mike Hancock and The Tattiehowkers Ceilidh Band.

Camping facilities are available for festival-goers.

Ticket prices – Saturday All-day ticket: £20/£18; Sunday: £15/£13; Weekend: £30/£28; Academy Concert: £16/£14; Concert tickets from £3; Family Ceilidh: £5/£3; Workshops: £4. Join the festival mailing list to keep up with the latest news at www.girvanfolkfestival.co.uk.

Among the artists booked, Barbara Dymock is a favourite traditional singer at Girvan and has assembled fiddler Carol Anderson, Kenny Hadden on flute/ whistle and Martin MacDonald on guitar or banjo. Her latest CD, Hilberts Hotel, is performed by this line-up and has been acclaimed throughout the country.

Sara Grey has contributed so much to the national folk scene over the years and she also produces her son Kieron, an amazing performer of both folk and blues.

Bosca Ceoil and Fiddle is the name of Cathal Clohessy and Eamonn Costello’s group and also their CD of Irish Music.

Eamonn on button box and Cathal on fiddle, along with Rodney Lancashire on bouzouki or mandolin, are all from the West of Ireland. Their respect and passion for the Irish tradition shine through in their playing.

The Adam McCulloch Trio are another group with an ever-growing reputation on the folk scene. Adam, on guitar and vocals, is joined by Rebecca Brown on fiddle and viola and Sean Thomson on mandolin, bouzouki and dobro.

Their diverse repertoire covers Scottish, Irish and American songs.

Kristan Harvey, the 2011 Young Traditional Musician of the Year, leads The Sanna group on fiddle.

She has Sean Grey on guitar and Megan Henderson on fiddle and piano. This group is just brimming full of talent. Breton storyteller Marie Chiff’mine will be making a major contribution to the storytelling element of the festival.

Twice a finalist in the young Traditional Musician of the year, Alistair Ogilvie’s performance of and enthusiasm for traditional song is a breath of fresh air. His first solo album is just about to be launched.

Lucy Pringle is a young singer from Edinburgh who has an especially appealing voice. Her CD with Chris Wright has remarkably entertaining renditions of traditional ballads as well as other songs.

Tommy McCarthy is a traditional Irish singer, originally from Birr in County Offaly, but now based in London, who has a wealth of traditional song passed down from his travelling family. He has a unique style which he inherited from the many singers in his family.

John McCreadie has been a constant friend of Girvan Festival, helping as MC over the years. This year he is returning to remind us again what a great singer and songwriter he is.

Phyllis Martin is a very special singer from Galloway who is going to present the results of years of song collecting from her homeland. A labour of love which has proved very fruitful.

As well as teaching circus skills, Mike Hancock will be presenting a few of his characters over the festival weekend, including the Hip Hop Cop, who will perform the crucial role of keeping order on the campsite.

The Tattiehowkers Ceilidh Band will be making their usual contribution by getting the ceilidh dancers on their feet.

This year will also see the festival celebrating the special relationship between Girvan and its French twin-town Torcy.

The festival has invited a party of French storytellers and English learners to participate in a special series of events in French and English.

Marie Chiff’mine will adjudicate in storytelling competitions, including the long-running Queen’s Quaich and Paddy’s Milestone Trophy.