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Music in Perthshire

14 July 2016


If you missed T in the Park last weekend then don’t worry, Perthshire has a large number of other music festivals coming up soon that will appeal to all musical tastes. Even better news is that they won’t involve camping in a muddy field along with thousands of excitable teenagers.

The Southern Fried Festival couldn’t be a bigger contrast to T in the Park as it’s a small, personal, indoor festival. The attractions of comfy seats and a warm venue mean the average age of the audience is somewhat towards the older end of the spectrum but that doesn’t mean the atmosphere or the reception given to the star studded international line up is in any way subdued. The theme of the festival is American Roots music and the line-up this year includes some of the biggest names in the genre performing over 3 days. Glenfarg House is just a ten minute taxi ride away, its luxury and stunning location about as big a contrast to traditional festival camping as you can get.

The Royal Dunkeld Hotel is the hub for the annual Perthshire Amber festival although events actually take place in a number of venues such as crannogs, castles and concert halls. The festival is organised by Scottish music legend Dougie Maclean and focuses on acoustic and traditional performances with the highlights this November being Julie Fowlis and Duncan Chisholm. Dougie, the award winning writer of Caledonia, which many consider the unofficial national anthem of Scotland started the festival to showcase the history and culture of his Perthshire home and still takes an active role, performing every year. Shuttle buses offer collection in Dunkeld and Pitlochry for all evening concerts in remote venues and there are also a number of free performances every year for those unable to get tickets for the main events. Mill Cottage sits just outside Dunkeld and would make a relaxing retreat after a heady day of folk music.

The Aberfeldy Festival has a line up this year that will likely appeal to a younger audience. Scottish alternative music stalwarts Emma Pollock, De Rosa and Kid Canaveral are scheduled to appear alongside new up and coming bands, drama and poetry performances. It describes itself as a place to hang out with those who appreciate art that is less mainstream in a valley in Scotland's heartland. Currently in its 7th year it is obviously a recipe that has struck a chord with festival goers and tickets usually sell out way in advance of the November date. Strathlyon Cottage just 5 miles out of town, sleeps 4 in comfort and makes a great jumping off point for visiting all the brilliant local restaurants if you wanted to make it a perfect food and music holiday.

The 67th Perth Accordion and Fiddle Festival takes place on the 8th of October in three separate venues. This is a major occasion in the Scottish music calendar incorporating the official Scottish Accordion Championships for traditional music alongside fiddle competitions and lots more performances from the very best in Scotland. There is a massive ceilidh and informal jam sessions where anyone is welcome to come along and join in. Well worth making the trip into town for.

The Kinross Winter Festival takes place every November and brings together community groups, local businesses and Kinross-shire Local Events Organisation to present a wealth of events for all tastes. The headline event this year is the concert at Milnathort Town Hall featuring two of Scotland’s best loved blues combos, The Coaltown Daisies and The Black Cat Jook Band. A fun packed evening of old-time blues, ragtime, skiffle and Vaudeville promises to have the audience dancing in the aisles. Balfour House in St Andrews is a short drive away and a great base to explore the delights of the Fife coast.

It is not happening till next year but all the early bird tickets for The Killin Festival have already sold out. Keep your eye on the website for details of when the next batch are available as this is one of the most eagerly anticipated festivals around. Taking place in the village hall over three days this is an event that unites the community with the emphasis firmly on traditional, fun music. Acharn Courtyard is walking distance from Killin and has individual apartments where you can have your own space to recover from an excess of ceilidh dancing but it also has a shared communal room where a big group can get together to party.