Both Sides of the Tweed Folk Festival is being held in Selkirk from Thursday 6th October to Sunday 9th October.
Organisers of the 6th “Both Sides of the Tweed” festival are picking up early signs that this year’s event is going to be a “biggie”.No national and very little local advertising have yet happened but as early as last week there were ticket enquiries from Yorkshire with a party taking no chances of being disappointed and booking into Selkirk’s’ County Hotel to make sure that they were near the centre of the action. Tickets in fact will not be available until late May as the care in putting just the right artistes together to create the right chemistry is still ongoing. Furthermore the festival is introducing several new features this year given that the festival in a sense is “returning home” i.e. is happening in the town from where it derives its’ title. Hector explains: “Both Sides the Tweed” is a song popularly associated with Dick Gaughan, but was originally written by James Hogg, and I’ve heard Dick himself acknowledge, “when I came across it it didn’t have his name on it but Hogg’s fingerprints are all over it”.Gaughan changed some lyrics and tune but the songs message is essentially the same, and the festival in recognition of this has commissioned a special show on Hoggs music which will feature two of the group “Border Young Fiddles” i.e. Lori and Innes Watson with Selkirk singer/actor John Nicol who has an extensive interest and knowledge of Hoggs work. Like John, Lori Watson has an interest in Borders music and is a B.A.Hons (Scottish Music) who has studied Border Fiddle styles at the hands of the late Tom Hughes and Bob Hobkirk, and on this occasion will be playing Hoggs own fiddle which is to be retrieved from the museum in Edinburgh where it currently resides. Hector continues, “there is something very special about being able to recreate Hoggs tunes being played on Hoggs fiddle in the environment where they were probably first aired centuries ago and have this done at the hands of someone as sensitive to Hoggs work as John and to the nuances of the music and how it would’ve sounded then as Lori” Other innovations include the festival starting a day earlier on Thursday October 6th, and extending invitations to 6 selected folk clubs( three from each side of the border, to simply come and meet up in Selkirk and have an evening of singing and playing to get the town into the swing of the event early. Invitations went out last Friday and already one club (The Bridge Club in Newcastle which has a claim to be the oldest club in the UK) has responded positively even offering to host the event if needed!
A third and final innovation has been funded. This will take the form of a small group of songwriters working for a month with local primary school children, hearing from them what it’s like to live here and working with the kids to produce a number of songs which will be presented (probably in an afternoon slot) at the festival. Although the funding is in place the requisite dialogue with schools has not yet taken place. Finally, the pupils who are attending Selkirk High School and playing traditional music will have a slot in the Saturday night concert headed by Galway songmeister Sean Keane, adding to the international flavour as they will be sharing a stage with pupils from Selkirk’s twin town Plattling ,who will be bringing their own touch of Bavaria to the festival. For the first time the four nations that make up the UK will all be represented with inputs from the USA and elsewhere also planned.
The Telegraph will keep readers fully informed as more details of the weekend unfold, including more on the internationally known headliners who are shown on the early publicity material which is about to go nationwide. Although no tickets are yet available people can register to receive them once available by phoning the Scottish Borders Tourist Board Customer Services Department on 0870 608 0404 and leaving contact details.
For further information visit our web site at www.bsott.co.uk