Historic burgh forms a fitting backdrop for a celebration of Scots culture

Cathal McDonnell, who'll be performing at Falkland Traditional Music Festival
Cathal McDonnell, who'll be performing at Falkland Traditional Music Festival

The historic village of Falkland is set to come alive with the sound of music later this month when it plays host to some of the country’s finest singers, accordionists, fiddlers and balladeers.

Traditional music enthusiasts from all over Scotland and beyond are expected to descend over the weekend of June 23-25 for the annual Falkland Traditional Music Festival, a cornucopia of ceilidhs, concerts and competitions that’s been going from strength to strength since it was founded five years ago.

Held in conjunction with the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland, the festival was held for some 30 years as part of the now defunct Auchtermuchty Festival but was taken over when the ‘Muchty event organisers decided to drop it from their programme.

Two of its organisers, the husband and wife team of Hugh Hoffman and Doris Rougvie, are well known in traditional music circles and are active members of the Perth branch of the TMSA.

“The number of visitors the festival attracts is growing year by year,” said Hugh.

“This is obviously a great boost to the local economy, especially as this year it coincides with the traditional Falkland street market, which always draws the crowds.”

One of the main highlights of the festival is a talk with entertaining music legend Cathal McConnell who will be ‘in conversation’ on Saturday morning.

According to Hugh, The genial Irishman, a founder member of the Boys of the Lough, can talk the hind legs of the proverbial donkey.

”Cathal is one of great characters,” he said.

“He’s a wonderful raconteur as well as a fine musician and singer.

“He’ll be playing his flute and singing from his extensive repertoire of Irish songs in the weekend’s concerts.”

Other star performers in the festival line-up include accordionist Colin Dewar, a Fifer, who will be playing at the ceilidh dance on Friday with his trio, then presenting a workshop on Saturday morning, as well as judging the accordion competitions on Saturday afternoon.

Another instrumentalist with a growing reputation is fiddler Carol Anderson, originally from Aberdeenshire but now living in London. Carol will be playing in the concerts on Saturday and Sunday as well as offering a fiddle masterclass on Sunday morning, and adjudicating the fiddle competitions.

Singing is strongly represented over the weekend and performers include husband-and-wife duo Alan and Carole Prior from Edinburgh and champion bothy ballad singer Allan Taylor, who’ll be appearing in concerts and as an adjudicator.

The concerts, competitions and workshops take place in various venues around the village and with such a range of talent in clubs throughout Fife it’s hoped there’ll be a bumper entry to the competitions.

Full details of the festival, including how to get tickets and accommodation, can be found on the festival website: www.falklandtradfest.org.uk and on Facebook (FalklandTradfest).