Crail Festival: Top names head to Kingdom

Bevvy Sisters
Bevvy Sisters

It’s now less than two weeks until the annual Crail Festival gets underway.

The 2017 event will run from July 19-29, and this year’s busy programme includes many time honoured favourites for adults and children alike.

Horse McDonald (Pic: Walter Neilson)

Horse McDonald (Pic: Walter Neilson)

These include the art festival, festival quiz, street market, putting green, rock pool guddle, crabbing, sandcastle competition, fossil hunt and a host of workshops.

Also making a welcome return to Crail are Vladimir McTavish with his irrepressible Stand Up Comedy Night, Red Wine Productions presenting ‘The Wit and Humour of Alan Bennett’ and Robin Laing with his Whisky Bard Show and Tasting.

However, elsewhere in the programme we have an intriguing number of notable “Firsts” which will certainly provide wonderful entertainment. The world of music is particularly well showcased.

More than three decades ago the festival began simply as an art exhibition, again a central feature, but has developed into a much larger celebration of art and entertainment spanning ten days.

Vladimir McTavish

Vladimir McTavish

Each year the programme surpasses the last.

Ronald Sandford, from the Crail Festival Committee, said: “I would say it is definitely a challenge each year to put the programme together.

‘‘But this year, I think we have put together an excellent programme for adults and childen and for all tastes. There really is something for everyone.

“Probably the most novel events this year will be the six archery sessions in the castle grounds for seven years and over, alongside the falconry, an opportunity not only to visit the static display but also watch the amazing display by these wonderful birds of prey.

“It will be an unforgettable experience for young and old alike.”

Kicking the festival off will be Scottish singer Horse McDonald.

She is the kind of singer who can touch the coldest heart with one note – her songs are both devastating and uplifting and her voice is stunning.

She will supported by Fife duo, The Coaltown Daisies, who have a busy summer of festival gigs lined up.

Trio Ecossaise, with three highly talented Scottish musicians, will also perform in Holy Trinity.

The trio of performances in Holy Trinity is rounded off by the remarkably versatile Hilary James and Simon Mayor who blend Irish ballad with rousing Handel and their own outrageous comic songs.

Hilary and Simon make a second appearance with their highly acclaimed Musical Mystery Family Show.

The Bevvy Sisters are sure to evoke memories of classic sister acts such as the Beverleys, the Andrews, and the Boswells but their repertoire goes much further!

The true, natural talent of Edwina Hayes, an evocative singer songwriter, will provide a fitting finale to the 2017 Festival.

Culture Cafe I at Julia’s Eatery is an opportunity for a soup and sandwich lunch and entertainment from local musicians. Culture Cafe II is the same style but music and poetry will both feature.

Crail Folk Club’s 30th anniversary concert ensures that high quality folk music is well to the fore.

Crail Festival has had strong links with Folk Club since it was formed in 1987 and four artistes who have history with the club will be performing in this celebratory event.

Dundee-born Sheena Wellington’s repertoire covers everything from Burns to ballads to the best of contemporary songwriting, drawing from the rich Scottish tradition passed from musician to musician through the ages.

A passionate and articulate advocate for traditional music, she has played a leading role in the fight for recognition, status and improved funding for Scotland’s traditional arts.

Fife group The Sangsters – Anne Murray MBE, John Blackwood and Fiona Forbes, have been entertaining audiences with their songs and humour at festivals including Celtic Connections, Celtic Colours in Cape Breton, Edinburgh Folk Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Kirriemuir, since 1991.

Expect traditional song, Burns, and contemporary songs from the likes of Andy M Stewart and Jim Reid.

Also joining the cele brations isAdam McNaughtan. A former teacher and bookseller, he has been involved in the Folk Revival since the late fifties as singer, researcher and songwriter.

His special interests have been the children’s traditions, songs of Glasgow and the interaction between print and oral transmission.

In February 2013 Adam retired from singing, song-writing and public appearances and devoted himself to his new career as a recluse.

However, the invitation to appear once more at a Crail Folk Club concert in the Community Hall at Glasgow Fair time has proved too strong a temptation.

The Scalded Cats are Bob Aimer and Jim Hyndman, playing acoustic music together since the early 1990s. They pride themselves on the diversity of their music, and the fact that they strive to maintain the core sounds of each style, without homogenising the music. Both still play in other bands (Long
way, High Speed Grass) but the duo’s mix and synergy is something special to both.

“It’s wonderful to tie in the 30th anniversary of Crail Folk Club with the Festival,” Ronald said.

Fun, education, creativity, imagination, teamwork, curiosity and friendship will be found indoors or outside for all across the Festival.

For young movie fans, Afternoon at the Movies will be screening the much-loved Roald Dahl favourite‘BFG’ (Big Friendly Giant), also on the bill is Zoolab, Story Telling,Bake-Off Competition.

And for the crafty youngsters, there will be a series of workshops including Ceramics, Krafty Kids, Fused Glass, and more.

“The exciting range of children’s activities this year will be hard to surpass the length and breadth of Scotland,” Ronald continued. “There’s so much for them to do this year, that they certainly won’t bored!”

Crail Festival takes place from July 19 -29 at various venues throughout the village. For the full programme and further information, visit