Linlithgow Folk Festival line-up revealed

Emily Smith and Jamie McLennan will headline Linlithgow Folk Festival.
Emily Smith and Jamie McLennan will headline Linlithgow Folk Festival.

Linlithgow Folk Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with organisers promising that the annual celebration of traditional music, dance and song will be the biggest and best yet.

This year’s festival takes place September 11-15 at venues across the town.

First staged in 1999, the Linlithgow Folk Festival is firmly established on the traditional music scene.

Linlithgow Folk Festival Association chairman Murdoch Kennedy is looking forward to this year’s event.

He said: “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.

“While, among the whole variety of acts appearing on the Nora Devine Stage, will be the famous St Roch’s Ceili Band from Glasgow.

“The festival has a tremendous reputation for encouraging and nurturing budding musicians and singers and the Youth Showcase will take place again this year at the St Michael’s Kirk Hall and St Peter’s Church.

“Also, some of Scotland’s most exciting young talent will appear at the ‘Songs and Reels at the Rose’ event in the Rose Club on Thursday September 11, including the brilliant fiddle player, Benedict Morris, who was named the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year for 2019.”

Headlining the milestone festival will be Emily Smith and Jamie McLennan, who will be making a welcome return to Linlithgow.

Speaking about the pair, Murdoch added: “Multi award-winning Scottish singer Emily Smith and New Zealand born songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jamie McLennan have been making music together for over 15 years.

“Having spent much of 2016 off the road (with Emily on maternity leave), the couple took time off to focus on writing new material.

“The fruits of their labours were two albums, the first of which, Unplugged, was released in April 2018.

“Unplugged features ten tracks, with seven previously unrecorded songs, including three preview tracks to their studio album coming out later this year.

“The duo’s new sound features originals by Jamie and reworked traditional material from Scotland and New Zealand, drawing on influences from the folk tradition, Americana and beyond.

“With rich vocal harmonies, accordion, fiddle and sublime guitar backing, they are one of the most vibrant duos on the UK folk scene today.

“Emily and Jamie have recently returned from an extensive tour of New Zealand and are very much looking forward to playing at the Linlithgow headline concert in the Rose Club on Friday, September 13.”

Full details of the Linlithgow Folk Festival programme can be found in the 12-page full colour Folk Festival guide. Most of the festival’s 22 events are free, with donations welcome. Online ticketing for Songs and Reels at the Rose, Smith & McClennan, Canal Cruise and concert with Okefenokee Bluegrass Band are available here.. As well as concerts the festival also features free workshops for all ages to enjoy. See the comprehensive run down of events in this year’s Linlithgow Folk Festival.