The 14th Haal Festival – Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June

Bothy Folk Haal Festival Programme 

Folk at the Salmon Bothy have compiled a plentiful programme of concerts, sessions, workshops and sing-arounds, which will showcase traditional music, song, dance, stories and more. Taking place in Portsoy from 31 May to 2 June, the Haal festival offers lots of opportunities for both participation and spectating. 

The main Friday evening concert features internationally renowned Cloughmor Ceili Band. The band has a wealth of champions among them, and has toured extensively across Europe. They will have toes tapping with their lively tunes at the concert, and will also provide the music and guidance at a ceilidh dance workshop on Saturday afternoon. 

Also on the Friday night line up are veteran Scottish traditional singers Arthur Watson and Chris Miles, as well as young award-winning Aberdeenshire fiddler George Davidson, and Irish guitar maestro Gearaidh Matthews, who will also leading a workshop on Saturday afternoon. 

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On Saturday, two of the biggest names in British folk music will perform, Allan Taylor and Jacqui Mcshee.  Allan Taylor is a wonderful songwriter who paints pictures through words, accompanied by his sublime guitar playing. Many of his songs such as Good To See You, The Beat Hotel and Traveller, have been covered by many performers and translated into multiple languages.

Jacqui Mcshee’s Pentangle is a reincarnation of the 1960s groundbreaking group which included world class musicians such as Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, playing a mix of trad folk with a hint of jazz. The current band is equally high in class, and includes percussion, double base, keyboard and sax, which beautifully complements Jacqui’s rich voice.

New this year is the Haal fringe, including acts such as Fil Campbell and Tom McFarland from Belleek, Bob Sharp, Alyson and Neil MacConnachie, Moonshine Madness, Dick and Maggie Trickey, The Sir-Reel Clarks, SC&T Youth, and Beyond Boyndie. They will busk and perform sets across various venues in the town free of charge, with thanks to support from the event’s generous sponsors, including Hydrasun, Kenway Tyres and Hamlyns of Scotland. 

For those who enjoy bothy ballads, a celebration of the life and songs of the late Jock Duncan will be held on Sunday at Portsoy Church Centre. Many champion bothy balladeers will sing songs strongly associated with Jock, while folklorist Pete Shepheard will also give a short talk on his recently published book about the renowned Scottish singer.

Bob Philips, chairman of Folk at the Salmon Bothy, commented, “Excitement is really building for us now as the Haal nears.  We have a confirmed full programme of music, song, dance, stories and more, which showcases the vast talent across the traditional folk scene, both from the UK and beyond.  The festival promises lots of opportunities to join in and participate, as well as the chance to sit back and enjoy the entertainment on offer.  Demand has been high for the ticketed events, so we would encourage visitors to book in advance to avoid disappointment.” 

Remaining tickets are available from Bob Philips, on 07968 872 217 or

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

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