Singer Kenny Speirs Enthralls Audience In Portsoy

Singer Kenny Speirs Enthralls Audience In Portsoy

Folk at the Salmon Bothy members and guests recently enjoyed one of the best attended Open Mic Sessions for many months.

Borders based singer songwriter Kenny Speirs enthralled the audience with performances of his own sensitively and well crafted songs, as well as many popular covers from the pens of Andy M Stewart, Rabbie Burns and more. 

Kenny was supported by fourteen sets from floor singers, musicians and storytellers. The appreciative audience enjoyed sea shanties, the history of Fyvie Castle, and a variety of unaccompanied Scottish and English traditional songs.

Tributes were paid throughout the evening to the late great Joe Aitken, who sadly died recently.  Seven times Bothy Ballads Champion of Champions, and dedicated family and community man, Joe was remembered fondly by many who knew him.

Organiser Bob Philips, MC for the evening, opened and closed the session with tributes to Joe. During the evening, John Mather recited a poem by Sheena Blackwall about Joe, while Doug Hay, Bill Gray and John Dickson sang some of Joe’s well known songs, including The Hearst o’ Retie, The Twa Gadgies and The Yellow’ on the Broom. The audience joined in enthusiastically.

The next Open Mic Session takes place on Friday 17 May at Portsoy Salmon Bothy, where the full session will be dedicated to performers keen to take the floor. Doors open at 7pm for 7.30pm start.  Admission is £5, and guests may bring their own bottle.  

Folk at the Bothy’s annual general meeting will take place at 7pm at the Station Hotel on Tuesday 21 May, all welcome.

The Club is also looking ahead to the 14th Haal which takes place in Portsoy from 31 May to 2 June.  Tickets are on sale now, and the full programme can be found in businesses locally, or online.

Joe Aitken

Joe Aitken

We are saddened to learn of the passing of our friend and supporter Joe Aitken.
Rest in Peace Joe.

Kenny Speirs – Friday 19th April

Salmon Bothy, Portsoy.  Doors open at 7pm for 7.30pm start. 
Admission is £5, and guests may bring their own bottle.  

Kenny Speirs, a well-known figure on the national and international folk circuit, will perform an extended set as part of Folk at the Salmon Bothy’s Open Mic Session on Friday 19 April.
Performing initially with the John Wright Band in the early nineties, Kenny was propelled from the pubs and clubs of his local area in the Scottish Borders to some of the biggest festival stages throughout the UK and Europe.

Releasing seven albums with the John Wright Band after turning professional in 1995 earned him as a sensitive guitarist, singer and arranger.  A further two solo album releases gained further wide critical acclaim.

In 2001 Kenny formed Real Time with his partner Judy Dinning. For the next 12 years they toured extensively throughout the UK and Europe, until Judy’s untimely death in 2013.

The band continued without her until 2019, by which time Kenny had decided to concentrate on writing his own material and pursue a solo career, releasing two self-penned albums ‘Sleepwalking’ and ‘New Dawn Breaking’.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming Kenny back to Portsoy.  A highly acclaimed singer/songwriter, Kenny has performed for us in the past, and has been very well received by local audiences thanks to his interesting song repertoire and laid back style.  His extended sets will complement performances from regular club members and guests who will also take to the stage on the night. 
A warm welcome awaits all who wish to join us.”

Enquiries and ticket requests to Bob Philips at, or by telephone, 07968 872 217.

Spring is round the corner!

Hi Folks, 

I hope you are all well. Spring is hopefully round the corner. I’m delighted to confirm that this month’s Club night will have The Sir Reel Clark’s as guests, who will perform two extended sets. There will of course be plenty time for floor singers to deliver s couple of songs, stories, tunes, poems  etc

Friday 15th March
Doors open at 7 pm. B y o b.

Date for your diary.
Friday 19 th April. We have Borders based singer songwriter Kenny Spiers as guest, who I’ll b3 performing two extended sets. 

See you soon

Bothy Ballads & Burns

Bothy Ballads & Burns, Sat 17th Feb, Portsoy Bowling Club

Guests ~ Choras and Tom Dymock
3 Course Meal, Dram and a Glass of Port
~ All for £25 ~
~ Sat 17th Feb. 2024 Starts at 6:30pm Portsoy Bowling Club ~
Contact Bob Philips for your tickets
07968 872217 ~

Folk Club Cancelled – 19th Jan, 24.

This Friday’s folk club (19th Jan) has been cancelled

Due to adverse weather conditions the monthly meeting of Folk at the Salmon Bothy has been cancelled.
Keep safe and we’ll see you next month.

Don’t forget to book for our Bothy Ballads and Burns on 17th Feb.

2024 at Folk at the Salmon Bothy

Portsoy’s Folk at The Salmon Bothy have kicked off the new year by announcing an exciting programme of live music events.

Performers are invited to join an Open Mic Night on Friday 19 January at Portsoy Salmon Bothy, where they can share music, songs, ballads and poetry around the table.

All welcome, whether to perform, or simply enjoy the entertainment on offer.  Doors open at 7pm for 7.30pm start.  Admission is £5, and guests may bring their own bottle. 

Open Mic Nights continue on the third Friday of each month throughout the year, including extended sets performed by The Sir Reel Clarks on 15 March, and Kenny Spiers on 18 April.

The club’s renowned Bothy Ballads and Burns event takes place on Saturday 17 February from 6.30pm, where special guests Choras and Tom Dymock will perform.  A number of Burns songs, tunes and poems, interspersed with bothy ballads will also be on the bill.

Tickets for the evening, priced at £25, include a three-course meal and toast dram. Booking is essential, please contact Bob Philips on or 07968 872217

The event will also mark the official launch of 2024 Haal festival, which is set to take place on 31 May, 1 & 2 June.  Now in its 14th year, the Haal continues to attract the best performers from across the regions to take part in a variety of concerts, music sessions, workshops and sing-arounds for all ages and performing abilities in venues across Portsoy.

Headliners for the Saturday evening include Jacquie McShee’s Pentangle, and one of the last of the travelling troubadours, Leeds based Allan Taylor.

Tickets for the festival are available now.

Bob Philips, chairman of Folk at the Salmon Bothy, commented, “We are looking forward to another packed programme throughout 2024.  As well as nurturing local folk music talent, we are also proud to attract performers from far afield to Portsoy for our audiences to enjoy.  This year is no different as we continue to add globally recognised singer-songwriters to our listings, and look forward to welcoming them, along with existing and new audiences to our many events across the year. Our sincere thanks go to our long standing sponsors, including Hydrasun, Kenway Tyres and Hamlyns, without whom we would not be able to host the Haal festival annually.”

Further information on all Folk at the Salmon Bothy events is available at or on the Folk at the Salmon Bothy Facebook page. 

Dates for your Diary. 

Coming up at Folk at the Salmon Bothy

  • Friday, 17th Nov – Regular Open Mic – in Bothy. Doors open 1900.
  • Friday 15th Dec. – Christmas Extravaganza. With punch and nibbles
  • 1st January. 2024 – New year session in Bowling Club. Bring friends an nibbles to share, plus a raffle prize.
  • 19th Jan and 16th Feb – regular open mic nights.
  • Sat 17th Feb – Bothy Ballads and Burns Night. 3 course meal. dram. Chaired by Tom Dymmock and songs from CHORAS and floor singers. All for £25. Bookings now being taken.

Keep safe and well.
Hope to see you all soon.

Folk club cancelled.

Due to the expected poor weather conditions the decision has been taken to cancel the regular club meeting on Friday 20th.

Stay home and stay safe 🏡😊

13th Haal – Friday Night – The Sands Family

Just a few tickets left for this fantastic Friday night concert featuring The Sands Family from Rostrevor, Co Down.
We invite you to take a stroll down the Ryan Road with one of Ireland’s most respected and admired folk bands.

Anne, Ben, Colum and Tommy have won international acclaim with their clever mix of traditional Irish music and song coupled with their own thought- provoking compositions reflecting the rich cultural heritage of their home county, An Dun. Renowned as performers, writers and presenters they have remained at the centre of Ulster folk music for a generation and show no evidence of running out of inspiration, enthusiasm or energy.

Ireland’s First Family of Folk have the gift of making their audience feel immediately home as they weave stories and jokes seamlessly into the fabric of their performance. Book early and avoid disappointment.

Support by Nathalie Chalmers, Danny Couper, Charlie Abel, Aaron and Andy Clark

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