The outstanding Karine Polwart and Blazin’ Fiddles – the current Folk Band of the Year - will be topping the bill at this year’s Trad on the Tyne festival, which will run from Friday 29 to Sunday 31 August in Haddington.
Other headline acts will include the Friel Sisters, the Victorian Trout Conspiracy, and local singer/songwriter Alex Hodgson, while the programme will again feature massed pipes and drums, Open Stage, workshops, come-and-try classes, storytelling, pub sessions, and a wide range of family entertainment.
Organised by Haddington Pipe Band in association with the Waterloo Bistro, Trad on the Tyne is now in its fourth year. All the festivals to date have been shortlisted – and won commendations - for the Best Small Festival in Scotland title at the Scottish Event Awards.
Tickets for the range of events will be available later this month, with details being posted on the event website (www.tradonthetyne.com).
“The festival is all about blending live performances of the highest quality with a good range of opportunities for people of all abilities to get involved in participatory events - come-and-try sessions, the workshops and the Open Stage, for example,” said Alastair Bruce, one of the organising committee.
“This year is no different, and we are absolutely delighted to be able to be announcing the headline musicians for what should be a fantastic weekend.”
Karine Polwart will be performing on the Saturday night. Described by The Guardian as "one of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain", Karine draws from folk music’s long tradition while keeping pace with the changing times. Her talent for crafting unique, enduring melodies, her gift for saying just enough without overstating her case, the range and dynamism of her arrangements, all come together in songs of powerful contemporary relevance. She also has the purest and most approachable of singing voices.
With glowing reviews for her 2012 album ‘Traces’, Karine, accompanied by Inge Thomson and Steven Polwart, will be playing songs from the album and some live favourites.
The festival’s closing concert will be performed by Blazin’ Fiddles, voted Folk Band of the Year at the 2013 Scots Trad Music Awards.
Take a group of the hottest contemporary fiddle players, mix with some wonderfully sympathetic keyboard and guitar arrangements and you’ve got the award-winning Blazin’ Fiddles. Over the last 15 years, no other band has quite captured the excitement, passion and sensitivity of Scottish music.
With a new album, ‘Six’, recently released and a new line up of fiddlers Bruce MacGregor, Rua Macmillan, Kristan Harvey and Jenna Reid, joined by Anna Massie on guitar/fiddle and Angus Lyon on keyboard, Blazin’ Fiddles are, as Mike Harding has said, “absolutely mind-blowing”.
The Music to Dine For evening which opens Trad on the Tyne sees the hugely talented Friel Sisters take to the stage. Anna, Sheila and Clare Friel are young traditional musicians born in Glasgow with their family roots firmly entrenched in Donegal. They achieve a close blend on fiddle, flute and uilleann pipes interspersed with songs sung in unison, many from their family and local repertoire.
They have performed at venues and festivals across Europe, America and Asia and have appeared as guests with acts such as Altan, The Chieftains, and Cherish the Ladies. Summer 2013 saw the girls record their debut album with guest musicians Gearoid Mooney, Seamus O’Kane and Griogair Labhruidh.
As a contrast, the next day at lunchtime sees the highly energetic Victorian Trout Conspiracy in action. The group performed at last year’s Trad on the Tyne and are very definitely back by popular demand.
Labelled on their Facebook page as “ska dirty urban ghetto funk”, VTC are a ten-piece high energy collective who “are gonna melt up each and every dance-floor they play to” – and after seeing them last year, we know they mean what they say!
Also back after a sell-out concert at last year’s festival is singer-songwriter Alex Hodgson from Prestonpans, who carries on the fine tradition of Prestonpans songwriting from the late Davy Steele. Alex was a finalist in the ‘Burnsong’ songwriting competition in 2005 and 2009, and since then he has appeared live on the BBC’s Hogmanay show and on Robbie Shepherd’s popular BBC Radio Scotland programme, ‘Take the Floor’. In addition, he sang at the Scottish Parliament, the Queen’s Ghillie Ball at Balmoral, the Waterside Theatre, Capetown, and in Kuala Lumpur.
Alex recorded his album ‘Jeelie Jars ‘n’ Coalie Backies’ with Greentrax Recordings in 2009.
The full programme for Trad on the Tyne will be announced shortly. Information is available on the festival’s website (www.tradonthetyne.com) and on Facebook and Twitter.
Ian Green, honorary president of Trad on the Tyne, commented: “We have had a great response to our first three festivals and have had wonderful support from the local community, so in putting together this year’s programme we were determined to keep the standards as high as in previous years.
“The headline acts are brilliant musicians and deliver not only quality but a real balance to the programme. They bring the very best of traditional music to Haddington, and we are very much looking forward to seeing them all at the festival.”