City acts do it for free as they prepare to gather in Peebles for mouth-watering festival

Andy Tucker, who is behind the Southern Gatherin Festival in Peebles
Andy Tucker, who is behind the Southern Gatherin Festival in Peebles

ROAD maps and compasses will be dusted down as a host of talented musicians from the central belt head for the inaugural Southern Gatherin festival in Peebles.

The two-day event in September will see 12 acts – many from Edinburgh and Glasgow – perform in an acoustic set for free.

Among those who will be heard in host venues The Courthouse and Bridge Inn is Andy Tucker, organiser of the festival, who will also star alongside his self-titled band.

A well-known face on the Edinburgh gigging circuit, Tucker was previously a member of the Deadbeat Club.

And two years ago he was chosen as one of 11 songwriters to take part in the Burnsong International contest, later performing at the Scottish Parliament on St Andrew’s Day.

He has also played alongside The Beautiful South, Seasick Steve, Karine Polwart and The Coal Porters.

Tucker, who moved to Peebles three years ago, said: “I have been playing in bands in Edinburgh for years as well as organising gigs.

“Some of the musicians and bands who played at the gigs are fantastic, and I started to harbour a desire to bring them to Peebles.”

“Although Peebles has the Eastgate Theatre, there are some really good bands in Edinburgh and Glasgow who just never think to come to Peebles or the Borders but then the opportunity came up to put something on at the Courthouse,” added Andy, who has gained the support of plumbing firm PH2O for the festival.

Among those travelling down to Peebles will be Glasgow-based The Dirt, a gothic country and western group, The Deadly Winters, Hoochie Fig, The Chinaskis, Dropkick and The Bad Books.

Others on the bill is Peebles’ own Ken Barrett, Kat Healy, Roy Henderson, Douglas Kay and Keith Meisner.

Tucker added: “A lot of the musicians are really experienced and have performed at festivals such as Glastonbury and T in the Park.

“None of them are big names, but within the music scenes of Edinburgh and Glasgow they are well known.”

Meanwhile, Tucker is already contemplating how to expand Southern Gatherin.

“My overall plan is to get three or four pubs in the town hosting free gigs and then a headline act at the Eastgate at night,” he said, with talks already begun to incorporate the Eastgate Theatre in next year’s festival.

“The reaction has been really positive – I have often heard that Innerleithen, Melrose and Biggar all have music festivals, so Peebles should also have one”, he said.

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