The picturesque Haugh area of Haddington, by the Waterloo Bridge, is set to burst into life this weekend when the Trad on the Tyne festival (www.tradonthetyne.com) strikes up.
The festival, organised by Haddington Pipe Band in association with the Waterloo Bistro, is in its second year and was recently shortlisted for the Best Small Festival title at the forthcoming Scottish Event Awards.
“We have learned a lot from last year and have put together a programme of events which we think will really appeal to a wide range of people – music lovers, families, those who want to come and try an instrument, musicians who want to perform on the Open Stage, others who want to enjoy the craic of a pub session, and so on,” said the festival’s honorary president Ian Green, managing director of Greentrax Recordings.
The festival begins on Friday (31 August) evening with a Music to Dine For evening – a three-course meal served by the Waterloo Bistro in the main marquee at the Haugh, with music by Wendy Stewart (harp) and Gary West (pipes). There’s also a late-night session in the Tyneside Tavern following this event.
Both Wendy Stewart and Gary West will be holding workshops at the festival on the Saturday – Wendy on harp and Gary on smallpipes - and Siobhan Miller, awarded the Scots Singer of the Year title at the most recent Scots Trad Music Awards, will be leading a workshop on singing.
Saturday morning sees a string of come-and-try classes in clarsach, fiddle, chanter, and percussion while along at St Mary’s Church, there’s even come-and-try bell-ringing. Haddington Pipe Band will parade through the town to the Haugh, beginning at 11.45am and at 1.00pm in the marquee, the outstanding fiddler Amy Geddes and her band will perform a free concert.
There’s plenty of other entertainment through the day. An Open Stage will be taking place, running right through to 6.30pm, storyteller Heather Yule will be holding half-hour sessions – ‘Tales of the Tyne’ in the beautiful yurt - and there’s a drop-in silent disco for under 12s.
Elsewhere in the festival showground (which is free to enter), there will be stalls, pony rides, face painting, a hog roast, bouncy castle, and food and drink.
Saturday evening sees the main concert, Steele the Show, the tribute concert to the late, great East Lothian singer and songwriter, Davy Steele. Created by Davy’s widow Patsy Seddon, Steele the Show was a huge success at last year’s Celtic Connections and will feature Patsy herself, Dick Gaughan, Siobhan Miller, Gary West, Mary Macmaster, Peter Boond, Donald Hay, Kathy Stewart, Andy Thorburn, Eilidh Shaw, Amy MacDougall, and Davy and Patsy’s son, Jamie. Some additional guests may be there on the night, too.
In the Alistair Grant Hall, there’s a Silent Disco for 12-16-year-olds, and following Steele the Show, there will be another late-night session at the Tyneside
On Sunday, the two main events are in the marquee. Bobby Colgan will host a session of accordion music from 1.00pm which includes Duncan Black and his Scottish Dance Band. And at 5.30pm, the Celtic ‘supergroup’ Daimh take to the stage with their exuberant fiddle and pipe-led music. Twice nominated for Scottish Folk Band of the Year, Daimh have added vocalist Calum Alex MacMillan to their line-up and have established themselves as one of the most entertaining live bands on the traditional music scene.
Elsewhere there will be a ‘brunch and acoustic music’ session (including the North Berwick Ukulele Band) at the Aperol Piazza at the Waterloo Bistro, storytelling and other family entertainment will be in the showground area, and singer Andy Chung is performing in the Tyneside at 3.30pm.
“It’s going to be a busy weekend but hopefully a very enjoyable one,” said Ian Green. “We’re hoping for good weather, of course, but all the concerts and much of the other entertainment takes place inside so we’d urge people to come along rain or shine.
“More than anything else, we want everyone to enjoy themselves,” he added.
Full information about Trad on the Tyne events is on the website – www.tradonthetyne.com. Tickets for the main concerts can be booked online or bought from Joe Forte Sports, 65 High Street, Haddington. Tickets for the Bobby Colgan Accordion Sessions can also be bought at the Railway Hotel, 70 Court Street, Haddington. Tickets for every event can be booked by phoning 07597 269 110.