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After a three-year hiatus the Arran Folk Festival will return later this month for its 26th year.
The folk festival, which started in 1989, initially ran for a whole week of concerts and
sessions around the island and was regarded as one of the top festivals in the UK.
Changes to its management and to tourism habits in general saw the need for it to be
streamlined, finally becoming a long weekend of events based in Brodick.
This format, including support in kind from various generous local businesses and an extremely loyal audience of locals and visitors, allowed the festival to be self-financing.
However, after being twice cancelled due to Covid restrictions, there was a real chance
that the festival might not return as ArranEvents, which previously ran the festival, ceased to be in 2020; the pandemic saw island tourism devastated; artists and musicians everywhere were struggling to survive without income from live performance.
But it is back! The second weekend in June, 10 to 12, will see the festival return to its usual slot for a weekend of live music and fun.
There will also be the usual afternoon sessions at Douglas Hotel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 12pm, hosted by Uncle Keith. A chance to shine, join in or just sit and listen and entry is free.
The Friday evening concert in Brodick Hall will feature Will Pound and Jenn Butterworth, Ivan Drever, Tim Pomeroy and Dónal Boyle.
The Saturday concert will feature Tim Edey, Lauren Collier Band and Bill Fraser, making his main stage debut. The concerts are licenced and doors open 7pm.
There are also late-night sessions at Brodick Bar, with free entry but for over-18s only. After the Friday and Saturday night concerts there will be a chance to unwind and mingle with fellow festival goers and musicians.
A special workshop takes place on Saturday June 11 in Brodick Church Hall: waulking Songs with Dr Rena Gertz.
Learn how song was part of Scotland’s traditional tweed-making process and get the chance to participate in ‘waulking the tweed’. It is free to attend, but places must be booked in advance.
Concert tickets, priced £25, are available in advance from Eventbrite.com, or at the
door on the evening of the concert. For more information visit: www.arranfolkfestival.co.uk
The acts performing this year:
Multi-instrumentalist and singer. Born in England, of Irish descent, currently lives in
Scotland. BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year 2012. Has toured and
recorded with almost every major name in Celtic/contemporary roots music. A genuine virtuoso on guitar and melodeon. Fuses passion and ability with various styles of music into a spellbinding mix.
Will Pound and Jenn Butterworth
Will is a master of harmonica and melodeon and is also a gifted composer. Multiple
nominations for BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year Award. In great demand as a
collaborator in many styles of music. Jenn Butterworth is one of the most in-demand guitarists/accompanists in the traditional music scene. Winner of Scots Trad Music Awards Musician of the Year. Lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Currently working on debut solo album.
Originally from Orkney, now resident in Norway, Ivan is a singer, songwriter and guitarist whose professional career spans more than 30 years. Has recorded and performed solo as well as with other bands/artists (notably Duncan Chisolm and various other member of Wolfestone. Recently released first solo album in 10 years, Decade.
Lauren Collier Band
Lauren is a fiddle player/teacher and vocalist. Has toured extensively and has a keen
interest in world music. Graduate of Traditional Music Masters course at Royal
Conservatoire of Scotland. About to release her debut album.
Tim Pomeroy and Dónal Boyle
Tim is a well-kent local poet/artist/sculptor and musician. Regular performer at events and venues throughout Arran. Dónal is a renowned local fiddle player and singer who once ran the Arran Folk Festival as well as helping to establish Arran Adventure Company and Crofters, previously Fiddlers, bar/ bistro/ music venue.
Originally from Clydebank, but now living in the north-east of Scotland, Bill is a regular
visitor to Arran and a long-time supporter of the Arran Folk Festival. A retired submariner and now regional engineering/supply lead for RNLI, Bill is also a wonderful singer and guitarist who has entertained many at the afternoon sessions. Making his main stage debut to raise funds for RNLI.