Community spirit to the fore in a two-month programme of entertainment

The festival culminates in the arrival of Santa on November 26 to help switch on the Christmas lights
The festival culminates in the arrival of Santa on November 26 to help switch on the Christmas lights

There’s no getting away from it – the nights are fair drawin’ in.

The thought may fill many of us with gloom, but for KLEO – Kinross-shire Local Events Organisation – winter is a cause for celebration.

The group has just launched the programme for its annual Winter Festival, a two-month cornucopia of entertainment and family events that fosters community spirit and brings an air of anticipation as the festive season approaches.

It’s one of a number of events organised throughout the year by KLEO, which began as a community group in 2008 and is now a registered charity run by a small committee of volunteers.

Over the years the Winter Festival has attracted big names such as Barbara Dickson, Big Country and Eddi Reader.

Headlining this year is blues band Lights Out By Nine, fresh from their success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with their exhilarating show ‘What The Funk.’

They’ll be playing at Loch Leven Community Campus on November 19, supported by Fife-based Dirt Road Blues.

Hailed as the finest eight-piece band in Scotland, Lights Out By Nine have established a following throughout the UK and beyond, and have supported such acts as Status Quo, Fish and the Average White Band.

More musical treats await in the shape of the Black Cat Jook Band, a five-piece string outfit bringing alive the sounds of the American South in the 30’s and 40’s.

They’ll be appearing at Milnathort Town Hall on November 12 along with the Coaltown Daisies, a rising duo of singer songwriters who write and perform folk, soul and Americana music.

Lucy Duffy and Crew make a welcome return with their new show ‘That Lovin’ Feeling’ on November 11 and 12, while other highlights include Latha Gàidhlig, a whole day of activities celebrating the Gaelic language .

The event takes place at Loch Leven Community Campus on October 29, and culminates in a concert at Milnathort Town Hall with award-winning Gaelic singer Maeve Mackinnon.

The newly-refurbished town hall also provides the setting for the Winter Festival comedy night on November 18 in the company of comedians Billy Kirkwood, Viv Gee, Jay Lafferty and Vladimir McTavish.

The streets of Kinross take on a distinctly Christmassy feel on November 26 with the festive street market, which opens at 4pm, just as darkness descends.

More than 70 stalls are taking part this year, selling everything from hand-crafted gifts to hot food and drink.

Music and street entertainers will add to the bustling festive atmosphere as the crowds gather in time for the arrival of Santa at 7pm for the town’s big lights switch-on ceremony.

It’s the culmination of months of hard work not just by KLEO, but also by the Light Up Kinross Group, the Rotary Club of Kinross and District, and many local businesses.

Said Bouwien Bennet of KLEO: “This year’s winter festival is once again an exciting collaboration between local businesses and community groups. We hope people will come along and enjoy it and make the most of what’s on offer in their community.”

For more information, visit www.kleo.org.uk