Arts festival in Upper Deeside

Three of the organisers of Braemar's new Arts Festival, Marilyn Baker (right) with Andrew and Kirsty Braidwood.
Three of the organisers of Braemar's new Arts Festival, Marilyn Baker (right) with Andrew and Kirsty Braidwood.

A MAJOR new Arts festival is about to brighten up October in Upper Deeside, with workshops in music, literature, art and craft for all ages and abilities.

The festival was the brainchild of Braemar author, playwright and event organiser Marilyn Baker, who has been joined by local gallery owners Andrew and Kirsty Braidwood, and piano teacher Liz Robertson, in attracting the cream of talent from Upper Deeside and some of the best names on the Scottish Arts scene to run workshops in subjects ranging from landscape painting, quilting and willow weaving to fiddle playing, tin whistling and storytelling.

The date of the festival is October 17 to 21 inclusive.

Marilyn, a popular local teacher and Scottish Country Dance leader, said she was inspired by Pitlochry’s Winter Words Festival.

“I thought if other small towns and villages can do it, why not Braemar?” she said.

There is entertainment every night, including a Friday concert by the magnificent Paul Anderson of Tarland who will be teaching intermediate fiddle on two of the days. His wife, the talented vocalist Shona Donaldson, will be sharing her skills with singers of all standards at her own workshops and the Tarland contribution is completed by landscape photographer Anke Addy, who will encourage participants to capture the glories of autumn in and around Braemar.

Ballater Pipe Band member Diane Wright will be offering classes in playing the chanter and musicians from the traditional Scottish band Lurach will be leading the workshops in tin whistle, step dance and fiddle for beginners, with an opportunity for an exciting groupwork afternoon and the possibility of joining in the band’s Saturday night session at the Moorfield Hotel.

Painting with pastels, wood carving and creative writing complete the festival line-up. A number of workshops include materials, while others do not. A simple-to-follow programme and guide is available on

There are various offers, including a discount for attending more than one of the music sessions. Prices range from £3 for an hour’s traditional step dancing tuition to £45 for a whole day silkscreen printing, inclusive of all materials

The festival is sponsored by Upper Deeside Community Development Group, Enterprise Music Scotland, Braemar Newsgroup and Braemar Tourism Group, whose chairman, Richard Baker – Marilyn’s husband – said:“Braemar is inspirational in the autumn months. It’s an ideal time to paint pictures, take photographs, enjoy nature and indulge in traditional crafts. We want to share this beautiful time.”

For registration, booking or enquiries, phone 013397 41225, email or write to Braemar Tourism Group, Dalmore House, Fife Brae, Braemar, Aberdeenshire, AB35 5NS.