Folk festival in 40th year

Billy Hamilton at one of the early festivals. Picture courtesy of Pete Heywood
Billy Hamilton at one of the early festivals. Picture courtesy of Pete Heywood

Girvan’s McKechnie Institute will host a civic reception as Provost Helen Moonie officially opens an exhibition promoting the town’s 40th folk festival in May this year.

The exhibition will begin with the opening on April 4 at the institute with the possibility of the exhibition also appearing at Rozelle Gallery, the Carnegie Library in Ayr and Prestwick Airport.

Groups invited to the opening include Girvan Community Council, Friends of the McKechnie, Girvan & Irvine Folk Clubs, The Town Team, Carrick Futures and local councillors.

There will of course be music at the opening with Girvan Folk club.

Confirmed artists at this year’s festival include Altan, Stars Band with Gavin Livingstone, Ellen & Kevin Mitchell, Robyn Stapleton Trio, Fiona Hunter, Chris Miles, Colin McAllister & Frances Logan (storytelling), Mike Hancock (children’s entertainment), The Tattiehowkers Ceilidh Band and session bands to be confirmed.

In a further boost for folk music fans the festival’s 2013 prices would be held for 2014, this being based on the planned intended and intensive publicity campaign and thus an expected good attendance.

A South Ayrshire Council spokesman confirmed this week that the council’s General Purposes Panel gave the grant of £5000 to the folk festival at a meeting on Wednesday, March 12.

Carrick Futures are to decide on a grant application for £5000 at a meeting this week.

In his statement at the recent AGM festival chairman Graham Charlton thanked all the members of the committee for their support throughout the year and also all those volunteers who provided support to the festival office, sold raffle tickets and who stewarded events throughout the weekend.

Graham noted his thanks to South Ayrshire Council, Carrick Futures and the Weir Charitable Trust for their financial support and their enabling cooperative approach to providing funding.

Thanks were noted for the generous support of ASDA Girvan for the donation of bottled water for the camp site.

Graham said: Campsite numbers showed a significant reduction overall even allowing for a continued migration of units to the harbour car park. A total of 85 or so units is well down on previous norms of 200 plus.

“On the positive side, it was noted that the excellent cooperation between the police and Castle Security resulted in a well-run and safe camping environment. Clearly, the committee will need to consider the viability of operating a festival campsite or whether existing town provision - commercial campsite plus informal car park usage - will suffice.”

r This week Girvan Folk Club welcomes Carissa Bovill to the club on Friday 21st March.

Music has been central to Carissa’s life since she began taking piano and fiddle lessons (both classical and traditional) at the age of 8. Through her traditional influences, she also took up the tin whistle, bodhran and clarsach and at age 15, Carissa was accepted at the Junior section of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Tickets priced £6 are available at the door and further info at