Shee and the Boys

'The Boys' performing at Innerleithen Music Festival
'The Boys' performing at Innerleithen Music Festival

The Innerleithen Music Festival, billed as the Borders’ biggest festival of traditional music, has announced its August programme.

The 12th festival takes place on the weekend of August 15-17, and topping the bill at the Memorial Hall on the Friday evening are fiddle and accordion duo, Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham.

Headlining the Saturday night concert are veteran Scots-Irish folk band, Boys of the Lough, who have completed more than 70 tours of the USA, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, with performances and recordings spread over five decades. Their music ranges widely through the fiddle, flute, piping and vocal traditions of Ireland, Shetland, and North America.

Opening the Boys concert are a young band with strong Borders connections, The Shee – pictured above.

The Saturday afternoon concert’s headliner is the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2014, Robyn Stapleton, and her band.

Robyn is from Stranraer and her singing of traditional Scots song won her the award at the recent finals at Glasgow City Halls. Also on the line-up is Berwickshire fiddler and singer Lori Watson, who has done much to research and raise the profile of the fine Borders fiddle tradition.

Completing this concert are the students and tutors from the Merlin Traditional Music Academy in Melrose, in a performance that is the finale of their summer school.

Peebles singer Sophie Dyer and talented Innerleithen guitarist Seoras Ashby open the festival on the Friday evening before Phil and Aly come on stage. On the Sunday, young singer songwriter Georgia Gordon, who also hails from Peebles, performs on the Memorial Hall stage, as do Innerleithen singing group Fisher Lassies and young singer Kirsty Law, from Heriot. And from just across the border in Lanarkshire are folk band Rudeigin.

The festival finishes on the Sunday evening with the Traditional Singers Concert.

Headlining this are fiddler Mike Vass and young Scottish folk singer, Fiona Hunter – perhaps best known as lead singer of Malinky – and her interpretations of songs of her native Glasgow and of the Scottish Travellers.

Beyond the main stage at the Memorial Hall, the organisers promise another exciting weekend of live music at Live and Local in the Vale Club.

The festival’s Robin Dempsey said: “Last year the Vale was virtually a festival within a festival.

“We had 30 different acts there playing to full houses, and we’re looking forward to more of the same this August – and, once again, it’s free.”

Other events taking place around the town include the return of the team of researchers and singers who bring the border ballads to life. Their show this year is entitled The Lady Killers – Wrathful Women, Merciless Maidens and Languid Lasses in Walter Scott’s Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.

View the programme at or for more information contact Robin Dempsey on 01721 729949.

Concert tickets are available from the website, the Eastgate Theatre or in person from Scotlight on Innerleithen High Street.

Special earlybird tickets covering all the concerts and costing £47 are available until May 3.