The Byre in the Botanics festival is well under way, with locals already enjoying a varied programme – with lots more to come.
Things got under way last Thursday with a stunning sold-out concert from singing star Samantha Barks, who played a set packed full of songs from films and musicals.
Classic films West Side Story and Billy Elliot were screened as an accompaniment to two performances from JSLN Ballet of ‘Variations of Pointe’.
However there is still much more to come from the festival, which runs until August 6 and tomorrow night (Saturday) will see a gig from the popular Scottish folk band Breabach.
James Lindsay told the Citizen that the show is one of many for the band in what has been a busy year.
“We’ve got a new album out, our fifth, called Astar which we recorded at the end of last year, so for the first part of 2016 we were touring that and we’ve been getting a great reaction,” said James
“So then we got a bit of time off so we were able to go home but now we’re getting ready for another busy period, and the show at the Botanics is the first one in a schedule of summer festivals and we’re really excited about it.”
James said that fans of folk music will find something to enjoy, though the band like to make things a bit different.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a diverse show we put on.
“We’ve got up-tempo tunes which we play along with Gaelic songs.
“Having double bagpipes in the band gives us a driving rhythm so like I say it’s different, but there’s something there for everyone.”
As well as putting their own unique spin on traditional weel kent songs, the band will also perform some of their own material.
James said: “Our view on it is to write songs that fit in with the traditional and contemporary songs that we play, but of course we bring our own take on those.
“For instance I’m heavily into jazz so there’s elements of that which will go into the songs but we do treat them tastefully.
“We tend to go quite far back when we’re looking for old songs to play.
“James and Callum, our bagpipe players, are steeped in the piping tradition and that comes through in the songs we choose and in our arrangements.
“So we are very respectful if we decide to play a song that’s well-known but at the same time we’ll have a bit of fun with it.”
Anyone going to the gig are catching the band at an interesting time according to James.
“Our new album ‘Astar’ came out in March and a new album is always exciting for a band.
“It’s got a really good reception and we’ll be playing a lot from that.
“We got the inspiration for it from playing a lot overseas and for the first time we had guest musicians form places like Australia and Norway.
“We always like to have a theme when we approach a new album to make it different from the last, so picking up influences while travelling was our main inspiration, so hopefully the audience in St Andrews will enjoy what they hear.”
Breabach are supported by Fara, a young band from Orkney (“they’re brilliant - get along early and make sure you see them!”) for what James thinks may be the band’s debut gig in St Andrews.
“I think it’s the first time the band have played in St Andrews so I’m really looking forward to it and checking out the vibe of the whole festival.”
Tickets for Breabach’s gig, which starts at 7.30pm are £18. Under 16s go free but must have a ticket.
There’s still plenty lined up for the Byre in the Botanics festival, with a packed programme over the next week.
Tonight (Friday) features a screening of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ as performed by Shakespeare’s Globe which is free to anyone attending the concert by Jacqui Dankworth called Shakespeare And All That Jazz.
The Glyndebourne production of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg is shown on the big screen on Thursday, followed by Shakespeare Globe’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ the following night as well as a show by Simon and Garfunkel tribute act Bookends.
On Saturday there is a screening of ‘Monet to Matisse: Painting The Modern Garden’ and a show by Louisiana band New Orleans Swamp Donkeys