Linlithgow’s 19th folk festival takes on a fresh new look

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One of Scotland’s most popular folk festivals has launched its programme of events.

The Linlithgow Folk Festival, which celebrates its 19th anniversary this year, will be staged from Wednesday, September 6 to Sunday, September 10.

And for folk music lovers, there is a wealth of entertainment on offer with jam sessions, workshops, ceilidhs and headline acts being staged throughout the town in pubs, clubs and dedicated venues .

Some of Scotland’s most exciting young traditional musicians will take centre stage at this year’s Festival and the organisers are claiming that the event will be the biggest and best yet.

As well as the headline act Barluath – who are a diverse and innovative young Glasgow-based band – the five days of the Festival will also see appearances by emerging talent, such as BBC Young Traditional musician of the year, fiddler Charlie Stewart, the guitarist Luc McNally, the award-winning singer, Iona Fyfe and Linlithgow’s very own Town Piper, Ross Miller, who recently graduated with a first class honours degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Barlauth’s headline concert at the Academy Theatre on Saturday, September 9 will be the high point of the five-day folk festival.

First staged in 1999, the Festival is firmly established on the traditional music scene and all the mainstay events will take place again.

These include the musical cruises on the canal, the family ceilidh at the Vennel, the Hub at the Masonic Hall, the Bluegrass Concert and Gospel Session, and the outdoor Nora Devine Stage at the Cross.

The festival organisers are not resting on their laurels, however, and there will be several innovations this year, bringing new venues into play.

‘‘Song and Reels at the Rose’ will see piper, Ross Miller, and friends stage a fabulous concert at Linlithgow Rose Social Club.

The Bluegrass Concert will move to larger premises at the Academy, with ‘The Daddy Naggins’ making a welcome return to Linlithgow.

A youth festival showcase for budding young talent will take place in St Michael’s Kirk Hall.

Already a magnet from visitors from far and wide, the Festival will have even more of an international feel this year, with the participation of musical groups from Linlithgow’s twin areas in France and Germany – Guyancourt and Arnsberg.

Folk Festival chairman, Murdoch Kennedy, explained: “We are trying to keep things fresh, as well as continuing to raise the bar.

‘‘This year, various new events will be taking place and new venues will be used for the first time.

‘‘This is a very exciting development and we are delighted to welcome new partner organisations, such as the Linlithgow Town Centre BID, who are supporting the Youth Festival Showcase, in the Kirk Hall.

‘‘This initiative will give emerging talent the opportunity to perform in a relaxed and informal setting.

“We are hoping to add in other events in the build-up to the Festival and are greatly heartened to see that people such as the new Café/Bar 1807 and the Tesco supermarket are keen to be involved.

‘‘This is tremendous news and we are confident that this year’s Festival will be the biggest and best yet”.

Full details of the programme can be found in the 12-page full colour Festival guide, which is available at “Far From the Madding Crowd” and other local venues.

A comprehensive run-down also appears on their website www.linlithgowfolk.com.