Stonehaven Folk Festival  15th July 2014

What a fantastic weekend for the 26th Stonehaven Folk Festival, if you were anywhere in town you couldn’t ignore the music, song and general buzz as thousands of people descended on the Town for the weekend. There were visitors from Australia, the USA, and Europe as well as much closer to home.

All the Town Hall concerts were sold out, the opening session was so popular some musicians had to play in the main hall, the Town’s bars and coffee shops were buzzing to the music and song and there was a very popular free concert in the square featuring many of the Festival guests. The World Paper’n’Comb championship was as popular as ever with over 100 people taking part and the Aqua Ceilidh achieved a new first – there were 80 musicians playing in the band to celebrate the Pool’s 80th Birthday. Even the rain didn’t stop things, described variously as “fantastic” and “organised madness” the event was run jointly by the Friends of the Pool, the Folk Festival and Gadie Music, a great example of local organisations helping each other. The Lion’s bar at the Yacht Club was also very popular with open mike session running throughout the weekend. If you were in Stonehaven last weekend you couldn’t help take in some of the atmosphere.

Festival organiser Charlie West said “this has probably been our most ambitious weekend with over 50 different events taking place, involving over 90 volunteers working behind the scenes to ensure everything ran smoothly. Events included everything from small workshops to the major concerts. It was particularly pleasing to see the youth workshops so well attended, ensuring the music and song will continue in future generations”. Organisers are already planning for next year – 9-12 July 2015.

24th STONEHAVEN FOLK FESTIVAL 5th-8th July 2012

What a great weekend of music and song at the 24th Stonehaven Folk Festival. From the friendly Session in the Upper Town Hall on Thursday night to the standing ovation for Fred Morrison at the closing concert on Sunday it has been a resounding success. All Town Hall concerts were sold out which is a testament to the diversity and range of artists booked. It is hard to say what was the best bit, but for most people the highlights were the young musicians of the North East Folk Collective, the Old Blind Dogs with special guest Ian Benzie, the stunning pipes of Fred Morrison and the Tradition Bearers concert. This was one of the last chances to see Sheila Stewart as she is retiring later this summer after 60 years of performing. The pubs and Hotels were busy with many sessions throughout the weekend, a chance for Festival Artist and local musicians and singers to play together. Workshops were also very well attended. They were led by some extremely fine musicians including Brian McNeill, multi instrumentalist and founder of the Battlefield Band and Rona Wilkie current BBC Young Tradition Musician of the Year. Particularly popular was the Saturday afternoon SIngaround in the Royal British Legion led by Arthur Johnstone and Danny Couper. Even the weather couldn’t hold things up – the Plainstones concert and Cowie Fringe simply moved indoors. These two events provided a showcase for some of the workshop attendees to show their stuff, from the P4-7 “Junior Jammers” to the massed Steenhive Big Sing choir, everything was extremely well produced.

The committee would like to thank everybody who made it such a success and are already planning next year’s 25th Festival – 11-14 July 2013.

•         The feedback from the audience says it all : “Had a great time in Stonehaven this weekend. It was nice that the pubs were so welcoming and went out of their way to welcome sessions”;
•         Thank you Stonehaven – great job!! Magic as ever :-)”;
•         “Great weekend as usual at Stoney. Would just like to say a big “THANKS” to the wonderful parents of the Sea Cadets who did a great job of keeping us wet campers fed on all day breakfasts and full of teas and coffees. Very much appreciated. See you again next year

25th STONEHAVEN FOLK FESTIVAL 11th-14th July 2013

Stupendous weekend as Stonehaven Celebrated the 25th Folk Festival.
The Town was full over the weekend as the sun shone and folk flocked to the Town to enjoy the music and soak up the sun. The Main concerts in the town Hall featuring Dougie MacLean, Mairead Green & Anna Massie, Breabach and Paul Brady were all sold out well in advance but there was still plenty to do.  The Plainstones concert, traditionally held on the edge of the Town Square, this year moved into a large Marquee and shared the square with the Continental Market. This was seen as a great success bringing the music into the market and showcasing the range of Festival and local artists playing over the weekend. The Aqua Ceilidh was as popular as ever, dancing to the North East Folk Collective in the glittering water on Sunday morning, a great way to shake the cobwebs out of the head. Workshops were popular with Festival artists sharing tips and techniques with fellow musicians and singers from beginner to advanced levels. Sessions, an essential part of the Festival, were popping up everywhere ensuring the Hotels and Bars were busy throughout the weekend. Festival Chairman Charlie West said “it has been a great weekend with lots of very positive comments from people at the Festival. We are always willing to develop and improve the festival and sharing the square with the Continental Market was something new and it worked well,. Thanks to support from Creative Scotland we were able to run a wider range of fringe events outside the Town Hall, all of which worked very well.” The festival committee will take a short break before planning for next year (11-13 July 2014).