Musicians set to beat a track to Selkirk

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ORGANISERS of this year’s Selkirk Sessions traditional music festival will mostly follow the tried and tested format of recent years.

It takes place over the weekend of October 5-7 with visiting musicians and their families arriving as early as the Thursday evening.

The festival was spawned a number of years ago from the demise of Both Sides of the Tweed, the final festival bearing that name having been held in Selkirk.

A group of local musicians and followers of folk banded together to launch Selkirk Sessions. In the opening years big-name concerts were a feature of the weekend, but now the festival is primarily session-based in local hostelries.

One change this year is on the workshop scene. Washboard tuition was introduced last year to join spoons and tea-chest base, and this year the three workshops will be held jointly with participants trying all three instruments before being joined by string musicians to test their new-found musical skills.

Back again this year are the competitions with the usual classifications – 16-years-and-over instrumental; 16-and-over song/poetry; under-16 instrumental/song and the popular Chorus Cup. Competitions and workshops take place on the Saturday.

Sessions’ chairman Davie Scott says most of the organisation is now in place with just a few tweaks required.

He told TheSouthern: “Our committee is small – very small – so that makes obtaining a consensus pretty easy. But as we don’t make many changes our meetings tend to be rather short.

“Once again we are sticking with what has proved popular. We have a loyal group of musicians from across Scotland and England and have even had a few from Ireland. We know what they want and like and we believe that we manage to fulfil their expectations.

“There is camping and caravanning facilities at the Haugh and our free minibus service to and from the town is extremely popular – especially if you play the double bass. We are providing anchor musicians for the pub and club venues just to get things under way and there will be a still-standing session on the Sunday lunchtime.”