Ambitious plan to put Aberdour venue on the Scottish music map

Woodside Hotel owner John McTaggart has big music plans earmarked for Aberdour.
Woodside Hotel owner John McTaggart has big music plans earmarked for Aberdour.

An Aberdour hotel owner is aiming to establish the village as a major music destination with the launch of a programme of innovative live gigs.

John Mctaggart, who lives in the village, took over the Woodside Hotel in 2017 and following a period of renovation is now confident the Aberdour venue could soon become the go-to venue for travelling artists.

From Nashville to Glastonbury, and now rising star Hayley McKay is on her way to Fife.

From Nashville to Glastonbury, and now rising star Hayley McKay is on her way to Fife.

And with with a successful sell out gig already under his belt, and another show scheduled for next week, John is laying down big plans for 2018.

“Music has always been a big part of my life , I’m a huge fan of Americana, accoustic and folk and have long harboured a desire to host intimate shows that are more than just another live gig,” he said.

“The function room capacity is about 100, so with the set up we can create an intimate setting, where everyone is in touch with the artist, making it both an enjoyable and a personal experience.

“Our first live event recently was a singer called Kenny Foster who came with a great catalogue of songs and a whole batch of stories from his experiences in Nashville.

“I knew from the off that what we were doing felt just right.

“It was exactly the type of evening experience I’d been aiming for and the feedback since certainly suggests others enjoyed it too.”

John said much of the inspiration for the new project comes from BBC broadcaster Bob Harris’ Under The Apple Tree music festival .

“Obviously on a much smaller scale but, certainly with the same ethos of having good quality singers, both established and new, up-and-coming artists, creating a night that people will want to come back to time and again,” explained John.

And with the option of a two course show and meal deal for just £28 in the hotel’s restaurant, John aims to offer the type of quality entertainment without the need or the cost of travelling into Edinburgh or Glasgow.

“We want to establish the Woodside as a venue people will feel confident of going to for a good night out regardless of whether they know the performing artist or not.

There are plans for a few surprises in 2018, and John also wants to bring a number of spoken word nights following the recent successful visist of author, journalist and TV presenter Stuart Cosgrove.

But for now, John is just trying to supress his excitement for next week’s live event which sees Aberdour play host to rising star Hayley McKay.

The Newcastle singer, who has already graced stages from Glastonbury to Nashville as well as supporting the likes of household names such as Tom Jones and Motown legend Martha Reeves, will step onto the Woodside stage next week.

“We are delighted to be given the chance to host her gig at the Woodside, she’s very much a singer that’s going places and this will be one of only two Scottish dates as part of her UK tour, so it’s a rare chance to witness a very secial talent, up close.”

Hayley McKay plays the Woodside Hotel on Tursday, April 13, tickets priced £10 can be obtained direct from the hotel, as well as Mctaggart’s cafe in Aberdour, or by contacting 01383 860328.