Community in tune for Innerleithen Music Festival

Innerleithen is tuning up for one of the top musical festivals in the Scottish Borders.

Organisers are putting the finishing tBarbara Dickson - smallishouches to the ninth Innerleithen Music Festival that has established an enviable reputation for bringing many of the best known names in celtic music to the region.

The three-day festival gets underway on Friday (August 19) and is headlined by Scottish singing legend Barbara Dickson (left).

Her concert at the Memorial Hall on the Saturday is already sold out but tickets are still available for fantastic concerts over the weekend, including an outstanding trio of contemporary folk musicians on the Friday night – Heidi Talbot, John McCusker (below) and Boo Hewerdine.

Robin Dempsey from the festival committee said the audience can expect a superb night of entertainment at the headline concert. “Whilst Barbara will be the name that has attracted most people the support acts present a strong local flavour with an excellent young duo from Innerleithen – Lauren Knox and Tommy Ashby.

“They’re followed by two of the brightest rising stars on the Scottish traditional music scene – Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller (above), who wowed us with a short but thrilling appearance at the 2009 festival.” he said.

The Saturday afternoon concert features the Borders folk band with an international reputation, Real Time, plus a guest from Canada, singer-songwriter Nathan Rogers, son of the legendary Stan Rogers.

Sunday afternoon introduces the Tweeddale Folk Concert with a succession of mainly up and coming bands, with a special guest, Eric Faulkner.   Eric is best known as a member of 1970s boy band Bay City Rollers who is now enjoying a new career as a singer-songwriter.

Concert organiser Mandy Gaze said: “The Sunday afternoon concert is always a relaxing affair.  We’ve got no less than six different acts, it’s only £5 to get in with children free, and we’re happy to see folk come and go throughout”.

The festival finishes in mellow fashion with the Traditional Singers Concert showcasing Scotland’s wonderful heritage of song.   Again, there’s a local flavour with Innerleithen singing group Fisher Lassies and Hawick’s Henry Douglas.   The headliner on the night is Sangsters, one of Scotland’s best loved traditional groups.

And as well as the main concerts, there’s plenty more going on over festival weekend.
The Co-operative Membership Community Fund has sponsored a venue for local musicians to meet and perform together, building on the Rising Stars and Music Shak projects that featured at previous festivals.   This will take place at the Vale Club and entry is free.

The session will be hosted by well-known musician Kathy Stewart and among the acts booked to perform are Bill Muir, Seoras Ashby, the Small Hall Band, Morgan Davidson and Fendath McIver.

On the Sunday, the ‘String Jam Club’ has its annual away day from its home in Galashiels to Innerleithen, and features many of its regulars.

There’s a programme of music workshops at the Union Club, featuring guitar, Scots song, fun percussion and the intriguing ‘tuvan throat singing,’ (I’m informed it’s like making a didgeridoo noise!) .   Other events include a historical walk on Saturday afternoon, a community market and a presentation by Ian Green in the lovely surroundings of St Ronans Wells.   Ian runs the leading Scottish music label, Greentrax.

Tickets will be on sale at the door for concerts or can be bought in advance by calling in at the Eastgate box office in Peebles or at Scotlight in Innerleithen, online at the festival website www.innerleithenmusicfestival.org and by phoning the Eastgate on 01721 725777.   For the workshops, tickets are available at Scotlight, by phoning 01721-729949 and at the door.

More information and the complete weekend programme is available on the website or by phoning the organisers on 01721 729949.  Over the festival weekend itself, information is available on 0774 068 1879.

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