Living legend to raise curtain on first Braemar Folk Festival

A lockdown vision to create a new music festival in the heart of the Cairngorms comes to life this weekend with the first ever Braemar Folk Festival.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 6:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 4:32 pm
The mainstage at St Margaret’s hosts neo-trad thrillers Project Smok on Saturday.
The mainstage at St Margaret’s hosts neo-trad thrillers Project Smok on Saturday.

Folk legend Peggy Seeger and her son Calum MacColl raise the curtain on Friday night with a concert at St Margaret’s Braemar, as part of their ‘First Farewell Tour’.

Seeger has made 23 solo discs, composed prolific volumes of music and was a major player in the global folk revival.

The Seeger family have been at the forefront of American creativity for the past century — as scholars, composers, performers and musicians.

Folk legend Peggy Seeger and her son Calum MacColl will headline St Margaret's as part of her farewell tour.

Peggy’s parents, Charles and Ruth Crawford Seeger were both pioneering composers and musicologists while her half-brother Pete was a seminal figure in American music and the civil rights movement.

Peggy’s late husband Ewan MacColl was the godfather of the British folk revival, penning songs such as Dirty Old Town and The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, written for Peggy in 1957.

The mainstage at St Margaret’s hosts neo-trad thrillers Project Smok on Saturday evening, a trio comprising instrumentalists Pablo Lafuente, Ewan Baird and BBC Young Trad Musician of the Year 2020 Ali Levack.

Some of Scotland’s hottest young folk talent — the Tom Campbell Trio and Chloe Bryce, Luc McNally and Megan MacDonald — will lead jam sessions in pub venues throughout the village from Friday to Sunday and also run workshops for visitors to the festival of all ages and abilities.

The family friendly weekend also gives festival go-ers the opportunity to learn something new at workshops from tutors who are masters in their craft as well as participate in the festival themselves at the jam sessions throughout the weekend.

Organised by local arts trust St Margaret’s Braemar, it is hoped to establish the Braemar Folk Festival as an annual event.

St Margaret’s trustee and Folk Festival organiser Fergus Mutch said: “I’m really excited to see the Braemar Folk Festival come to life and we cannot wait to welcome audiences to Deeside for some sensational live music.

“Peggy Seeger is a living legend — a virtuoso musician and captivating performer — and she’ll be joined in concert with her son Calum for what will be a truly unforgettable night.

“Project Smok will turn the volume up on Saturday with their trademark arrangements of driving tunes, showcasing the very best of what Scotland’s young trad scene has to offer.

“On top of that, with workshops and jam sessions taking place from Friday to Sunday, there will be great opportunities for everyone to get involved, learn some new skills and enjoy themselves.

“There’s a great lineup and a great weekend in store, so be sure to book your tickets now.”

The Festival line up:

Friday, October 1:

3 - 6pm – Welcome Jam Session hosted by the Tom Campbell Trio at the Invercauld Mews 7-9pm – Jonny Hardie and Ewan MacPherson at the Flying Stag 7:30pm – Peggy Seeger & Calum MacColl Live in Concert at St. Margarets 10pm - 1am – Late Night Jam Session hosted by Chloe Bryce, Luc McNally and Megan MacDonald at Farquharsons

Saturday, October 2:

11am - 1pm – Folk/Trad Melody and Accompaniment Workshops with the Tom Campbell Trio at the Highland Games Centre 2pm - 5pm – Afternoon Jam Session hosted by Chloë Bryce, Luc McNally and Megan MacDonald at Braemar Lodge Hotel 7:30pm- Project Smok Live in Concert at St. Margarets 10pm - 1am – Late Night Jam Session hosted by the Tom Campbell Trio in Farquharsons.

Sunday, October 3:

11am - 1pm – North Highland Folk/Trad Melody and Accompaniment Workshops with Chloe Bryce, Luc McNally and Megan MacDonald at the Highland Games Centre. All Instruments and abilities welcome. 2-4pm – Lunch and Live Music hosted by Chloë Bryce, Luc McNally and Megan MacDonald at the Bothy 2-5pm – Farewell Session hosted by the Tom Campbell Trio at the Invercauld Mews

Weekend and individual evening tickets are available.

Full details, schedule and tickets available at www.braemarfolkfestival.com

The Braemar Folk Festival is hosted by St Margaret’s Braemar — a performance, arts and heritage venue situated in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

A retired headteacher, architect, accountant and minister, all local to Braemar took on the challenge of finding a sustainable new use for this old neglected church in 2011.

A decade later – despite ongoing challenges – a great deal of progress has been made in the ongoing transformation of the beautiful church.

Now an army of eight Trustees (St. Margaret’s Trust) and twenty-plus volunteers, we deliver an ambitious annual programme of events, live music concerts, exhibitions, talks, tours and workshops.