Feast of entertainment at Byre In The Botanics

Midge Ure (PIc: Jane Barlow)
Midge Ure (PIc: Jane Barlow)

It was the festival that just grew and grew last year – and now Byre in the Botanics is set to return in 2017.

Over five weekends in June and July St Andrews Botanic Garden will be transformed into an open-air performance space as the Byre Theatre takes its performances al fresco.

Elkie Brooks appearing at Byre in the Botanics 2017

Elkie Brooks appearing at Byre in the Botanics 2017

Arguably the greatest current proponents of traditional Scottish music, Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham open the festival on June 29 and there is a host of big names to follow them.

Midge Ure will be live in the marquee with his Something From Everything tour, and also on the programme is the ‘Queen of British Blues’ Elkie Brooks, jazz icon Chris Barber with his big band, and a rare live set from songwriting legends Gallagher and Lyle will close Byre in Botanics 2017.

Last year’s runaway favourites, the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys make a return while other live music highlights include the toe-tapping Glenn Miller Orchestra UK and Mànran.

There will also be the only Scottish performances of OperaUpClose’s Olivier Award-winning production of the classic romantic opera La Boheme with a fresh new English language translation.

Dance is covered too, with the Scottish debut of talented Dutch streetdance crew The Ruggeds who come to St Andrews fresh from working with Justin Bieber and Rita Ora. And those wanting to show off their own moves can practise their best Virginia Reels and Strip The Willows at two Grand St Andrews Ceilidhs with live band led by top broadcaster and musician Billy Anderson.

Throughout the festival afternoons will be devoted to big screen showings of favourite family movies with fun activities before the films.

For Liam Sinclair, the Byre’s artistic director, this is his first Byre in the Botanics, but he was in the audience last year and declared himself: “Really impressed with what the team had put on, and I think the same will be achieved this year.

“We are already seeing ticket sales significantly ahead of where they were last year – people understand what the event is about, the quality of it.

“We are trying to put something in there for everybody – it’s quite an eclectic programme.”

June 29: Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham – “probably the best traditional musicians you are ever likely to hear”

July 1: The Ruggeds: Adrenaline – a Scottish debut for one of Europe’s top street dance crews

July 8: Glenn Miller Orchestra UK – be transported you back to the heady days and music of the 1940s

July 13 & 14: OperaUpClose – La Boheme – The Olivier Award-winning version of Puccini’s opera is a favourite

July 15: Elkie Brooks – Queen of Blues

July 20: The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys – favourits from 2016 make a return to St Andrews

July 22: Midge Ure brings his Something for Everyone tour to the Botanic Garden

July 29: Chris Barber Big Band – jazz from New Orleans to Duke Ellington

July 29: Gallagher and Lyle – the classic Scottish duo make a welcome comeback

>> More information on events, dates and times and to book, go to Byre In The Botanics