Tamfest: Hallowe’en celebration with a Tam o’ Shanter twist

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Scotland’s love of all things Hallowe’en and Robert Burns are brought together this weekend for a festival full of spooks and scares.

Tamfest is Ayrshire’s premiere family Halloween festival. Rooted in heritage and inspired by the apocryphal Tam O’ Shanter poem by Robert Burns.

Since 2015 Tamfest has grown into an enchanting experience for the entire family.

Meredith McCrindle, Tamfest lead producer, said: “As a lover of Hallowe’en and an American – and we do it quite big over there – I wanted to give my children a great Hallowe’en experience.

“Tam O’ Shanter is just the best Hallowe’en story, so it just made sense to do something based around that.

“Each year, the event has a theme which ties it all together and this year the bewitching Cutty Sark takes centre stage.

“Every year we have taken a line from the poem and used it as inspiration for the theme, Meredith explained. “The line, ‘Weel done, Cutty-sark!’ has inspired us this year so Tamfest has a witchy twist for 2019.”

This year the festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and organisers have promised it will be the biggest year .

Ayr High Street will be full of entertainers with a Tamfest twist including stilt walkers, jugglers, knife act, Frankenstein magician, ghostly piper, fire performers, Holy wullie, street poet, cheerleader witches, warlocks and witches escape tent and so much more

Youngsters can get stuck in with a host of activities and enjoy performances at Spook Central (Ayr Central) from 12-4pm including pumpkin carving, glow crafts, spooky science lab, special effect make-up, freaky face painting, wand making, pop up performance by maleficent movers and so much more.

There will also be performances from Ayr Dance Vision, DA Dance Academy, Blair Gilmour, Heathfield Primary Choir & samba band, plus a few surprises.

“The line-up this year and the activities we have planned are fantastic,” Meredith continued.

“Carlin Market will be filled with 30 stalls selling local and Ayrshire products, we have a unique exhibition that we are proudly collaborating on with renowned artist Craig Campbell. It will be taking place at Loudoun Hall, the oldest surviving domestic building in Ayr.

“Ayrshire Soprano Alexandra Shrinivas and Daniel Victory a fantastic instrumentalist and composer will be performing all day at the exhibition.

“On the Cutty Sark stage we have great performances lined up. We have Fraser Stokes and award-winning Ayrshire Magician, The Ronains, Ayr Dance Visions and Wild Horse Will are among the great acts and we have Kevin Simm from Wet Wet Wet closing the Cutty Sark stage in style.”

And this year Tamfest will be kicked off in style with an official party on the Saturday, with spooky displays, live performers and costumes.

There will also be ghost hunting, an Auld Ayr tour plus a haunted history tour – are you brave enough..?

Heralding the end of Tamfest is the Day O’ The Deid procession.

Everyone dresses up and community groups carry the amazing Day O’ the Deid and Tam O’ Shanter-themed props, as giant skeletons, skulls and witches chase Tam on his trusty mare, Meg.

The processions leaves from Arran Mall and finishes at the bottom of Ayr High Street. Colin McCardle will warm up the crowd as the procession arrives and Drums N Roses will perform.

Tamfest takes place on Sunday, October 27.

For the full programme, visit www.tamfest.co.uk/full-festival-line-up.