Traditional music off festival menu

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Scotland’s traditional music organisation has expressed its sadness at Auchtermuchty Festival’s decision to end its long association with them.

At what was described as “an emotional meeting” last week, the festival committee voted by a majority to scrap the traditional music weekend.

Alison Mackinnon, national vice-convener and secretary of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland, said: “The TMSA is saddened the Auchtermuchty Festival Society have taken a majority vote to end our association with them after 31 years, and that the traditional music weekend will no longer take place in the town.”

The Auchtermuchty weekend is listed in this year’s TMSA events schedule, and concerts, ceilidhs, dances, competitions, workshops and open-air events had been planned for August 9-11.

The Auchtermuchty committee say the weekend will now continue under a new format.

Prior to moving to Auchtermuchty, the TSMA weekend had been held for a couple of years in Kinross and before that, Blairgowrie.

Local councillor Andy Heer said the traditional music weekend had been supported by grants for the past 30 years.

“When the festival first started there were grants available and Auchtermuchty had more venues and amenities.

“These grants are no longer forthcoming and it is not possible to continue to knowingly run events at a loss and to give guest performers travel and accommodation and spending money just to turn up.

“Everyone has seen the festival attendances fall over the last few years until, eventually, the whole future of the festival was in doubt.”

This year’s festival will have a new community events organiser, Louise Ness, who will lead a team of helpers.

It is planned to showcase local bands and groups on the Saturday with a traditional ceilidh on the Sunday, along with other entertainment.

Councillor Heer added: “It’s sad to see the end of the traditional music weekend but I think the new format will bring fresh impetus and enthusiasm and I hope to see the festival continue for another 30 years.”