Denholm festival-goers set to raise the roof at the bells

The organisers of The Land, the Light, the Locals have announced the schedule for their 15th New Year festival, with a programme of concerts, sessions and a Hogmanay ceilidh taking centre stage.

The festival begins on Saturday, December 29, with the main concert in Denholm Village Hall, featuring one of Scotland’s top folk exports the Old Blind Dogs. From their Aberdeenshire roots they have earned huge international acclaim, particularly in the US, and it is a major coup for the festival to attract them to Denholm.

“No doubt they’ll raise the roof at Denholm Village Hall,” the festival’s website promises.

The following day the first traditional music session will be held at The Gordon Arms Hotel in the Yarrow Valley with the irrepressible Shankend Mac hosting. Then the evening event is a special Hawick Sings concert in the town’s Burns Club, where it is hoped a lot of money will be raised for local charities.

“In the Borders we call December 31 Auld Year’s Night,” writes one organiser, “and the festivities begin with our music session in the Royal Hotel, Jedburgh.

“Then it’s back to Denholm for our showcase event, the Hogmanay Ceilidh, with Scottish dancing and party games through the bells to the Jock Thomson Band. I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one with a bang!”

On New Year’s Day there is a walk organised for those needing to blow away the cobwebs, and then it’s off to Ashkirk Village Hall in the company of Selkirk’s John Nichol and Hilary Bell, who will be hosting a Herds’ Supper in their own very entertaining way. For those still standing, the day is finished off by a session in The Fox and Hounds Inn, Denholm.

The final day sees the farewell session held in the Denholm Meet, with a survivors’ concert by local favourites Real Time, pictured left, in The George and Abbotsford Hotel closing this the five-day festival.

Full details can be obtained from, or by calling 01450 870664. Tickets for the Saturday concert and the Ceilidh are available online at