On song for Sessions

Selkirk Sessions 2013
Selkirk Sessions 2013

Selkirk Sessions is well established on the Scottish and north of England music scene.

Now in its ninth year, the Sessions followed on from Both Sides of the Tweed after the last two years of that festival were held very successfully in Selkirk.

The aims of Selkirk Sessions then is the same as it is now.

That is mainly to encourage people of all ages to participate in music – either as players, singers or simply as listeners – while at the same time bringing trade into the Royal Burgh.

The fact that the campsite has excellent facilities certainly encourages people to come to the Sessions.

An unfortunate incident did happen three years ago, when a campervan had its roof peeled back because the height restrictor into the campsite had not been secured. However, this incident did not inhibit the campervan’s owner from returning to the next year’s Sessions ... albeit with a new camper.

The first year of Selkirk Sessions followed pretty closely the normal festival format, with big-name headline concert acts such as Malinky, a ceilidh, competitions, workshops and pub sessions. The same format followed on for the second year, with the exception of changing the concert venue from the Victoria Halls to O’Malley’s.

This was due, in part, to the cost of hiring the hall and its size, but there was always tension between those people who wanted to attend the concert and those who wanted to just sing, play or listen in the pubs.

The third year saw the dropping of the concert and the ceilidh as an experiment and it was felt to be appropriate to carry on this way in the future.

In year eight, a further change was made in that many of the competition winners were unable to stay until the Winners’ Concert on Sunday afternoon, and so a combined family ceilidh with winners’ performances was introduced for Sunday.

This proved to be very popular with both musicians and the general public and will take place again this year in the Tory Club on Sunday at 2pm. All are welcome to attend and dance, sing or play. It’s great fun and an excellent way to wind down the weekend.

The competition section of the Sessions has always been popular, with the Chorus Cup attracting a good entry. The 16-years-or-under competition was a way of encouraging young people to get involved and has produced some outstanding entrants.

However, sometimes the numbers of young participants might have been larger and I am always keen to encourage a bigger entry for this competition, and hope more people will put themselves forward this year.

Just come along and enter on the day.

Selkirk Sessions is a bit unusual in the music festival scene in that there are no headline acts or concerts.

However, in speaking to people who attend the Sessions regularly, they all say that they like and enjoy the current format.

The fact that change has taken place over the years means the Sessions is capable of adapting as and when required, but the old adage of If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It seems to apply.

I look forward to welcoming all this coming weekend and hope you have a great festival. Why not check us out at www.selkirksessions.com?