Press release

In case you missed it here’s the article released to the press last week

Traditional Music Festival Ready To Hit High Note

Organisers are gearing up for the Haal, the annual traditional music festival, which takes place from 3 – 5 June in Portsoy.

Folk at the Salmon Bothy have finalised a bumper programme of music, poetry, storytelling and workshops, which will take place at venues throughout the town during the festival weekend. 

The event kicks off on Friday 3 June with the Jimmy McBeath memorial concert, an evening of bothy ballads, Scottish traditional, Gaelic and contemporary songs and tunes.  Opening the concert is Jodi Beaton from Rothiemay, winner for the second year of the Wheeler trophy, presented for excellence in traditional music at Aberdeen Music School.

Also on the bill is Steve Byrne, a traditional singer from Arbroath, who along with Scott Gardner, MC for the weekend, will showcase songs and poems made famous by the late Jim Reid.  Performances will also feature Bruce MacGregor and Anna Massie of Blazin’ Fiddles, and melodeon player Tim Edey.  The concert will be followed by late night club singarounds and tunes sessions.

A breakfast of porridge, brose and bothy ballads on Saturday morning leads to a variety of workshops throughout the afternoon. Arthur Coates hosts a fiddle with guitar accompaniment session, Charlie West will lead a beginners whistling workshop, and Sheena Blackhall will recount a variety of stories to be enjoyed.

Singing duo Margaret Bennett and Jimmy Hutchison will teach waulking songs during their workshop, utilising a tweed specially woven by Jimmy himself, as well as performing traditional songs with a hint of Gaelic.

A host of talented competitors will battle it out for the WWC trophy in the Greig-Duncan song competition by performing a song of their choice from the Greig-Duncan collection of folk songs.  Folk music stalwart Bob Sharp will present ‘all things Glasgow’, including song, music, folk club tales and more. 

Saturday evening hosts the main festival concert, which will be opened by Amy Papiransky from Keith.  Amy is making a name for herself on the Glasgow music scene and has appeared across the UK and internationally. A superb singer and songwriter, she has supported KT Tunstall and has signed to her record label.  Headlining the concert is Martin Carthy and Eliza Carthy.  A legendary ballad singer and guitarist, Martin has influenced generations of artists including Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, while daughter Eliza has been twice-nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and is a multiple-award winner at the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards.

Sunday offers a number of singarounds, instrumentals, storytelling and poetry sessions, as well as a music sale.  An audience with Norman Kennedy will showcase a film of Norman at his home in Vermont, in conversation with Margaret Bennett and Arthur Watson, where Norman’s love of song and weaving will feature.

The festival will be brought to a close on Sunday evening with the grand farewell concert, a chance for Folk at The Salmon Bothy regulars to perform some songs or tunes, and winners from competitions across the weekend to showcase their talent.

Bob Phillips, chairman of Folk at the Salmon Bothy, comments, “We are delighted to once again be hosting the annual Haal festival, an authentic celebration of the best of traditional music and entertainment.  The festival is always well attended and provides an opportunity to enjoy a superb line up of performances, with opportunities to take part, as well as a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones too.  As always, we are extremely grateful to our sponsors and the local businesses for their support and kindness in enabling us to make the festival happen.  We look forward to welcoming festival visitors from near and far to share this great programme of entertainment.”

Main sponsors for the event are Kenway Tyre Services and Hydrasun, who along with Portsoy Thrift Shop, Portsoy 75 Club, the Station Hotel Portsoy, Hamlyns of Scotland and a host of local businesses, enable the organisers to bring top quality performers and musicians to the north east for this event.

Advance tickets have been in demand, with capacity crowds anticipated for the main concerts during the event.

To book tickets, contact Bob Philips by email at bobportsoy@gmail.com, or by telephone, 07968 872 217. 

Information on the Haal and all of the other Folk at the Salmon Bothy events is available at www.bothyfolk.org or on the Folk at the Salmon Bothy Facebook page. 

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