Shee-r brilliance

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An event which has set a high standard for itself in the last few years is back next month with a stellar line up for 2014.

Taking place from August 15-17, this year’s Innerleithen Music Festival is uniting noted local performers with musicians who have built a strong reputation for themselves much further afield.

Getting proceedings under way on the Friday night are the dynamic duo Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham.

The twosome are a popular draw wherever they play and are no strangers to the region, performing in many venues across the Borders and The Maltings In Berwick on countless occasions.

They will be joined on the Friday night lineup by Sophie Dyer and Seoras Ashby.

The opening evening of entertainment will be rounded off with the first session of the Festival Club.

Saturday, August 16 offers a full day of events, with the Silver Band kicking things off at 10am with an al fresco performance, and coffee and cake too.

The afternoon’s entertainment will take the form of a concert featuring musicians familiar to any Borders music fan.

Birgham’s Lori Watson is part of a four-strong lineup which will also include the Robyn Stapleton Band, Fiona Black and Merlin Music Academy.

Musicians of all genres will get the opportunity to perform on the Live and Local Fringe stage at 1pm, with all the slots filled well in advance.

Continuing on this theme, there will be a busking competition before the volume gets cranked up a few notches at 4pm with a rock session, featuring All The Angels.

A local flavour will creep back into proceedings at 5.30pm with a Border Song and Tune Session, before the evening’s big event – a concert starring highly sought after bands The Shee and The Boys of the Lough.

Away from the stage there are a host of workshops taking place on the Saturday, led by the likes of Shona Mooney, Lillias Kinsman-Blake and Kirsty Law.

These will continue into Sunday, August 17, a day that will also see the music festival’s pièce de résistance, a performance of The Ladykillers, a show borne out of Walter Scott’s Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.

The event will incorporate singing, folklore, social history and images which celebrate traditional song culture and some of the most enduring ballad characters to provides a historical and cultural backdrop to several of the ballads included in Scott’s seminal ballad collection of 1802/1803.

Folklore scholars Lucy Macrae and Kaye McAlpine from the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh, will be joined by renowned traditional singers –Elsa LeMaitre, Henry Douglas, Kathy Hobkirk and Naomi Harvey for the performance.

The festival will finish with a traditional singers concert, starring Fiona Hunter and Mike Vass; John Morran, Carole and Alan Prior; Kirsty Law and the Fisher Lassies.

Remarkably, the three- event day event, which is expected to attract visitors from all over Europe and America has been organised by a committee of just three people including Robin Dempsey.

He told ‘WOW’: “It’s a lot of hard work, but we know the town really appreciates our efforts. We’re really proud of the festival.”

z The winner of our Boys of the Lough competition was Audrey Johnston of Galashiels, who wins a pair of tickets for the Saturday night gig.