You don’t need clues to figure out why Innerleithen’s music fest is so successful

INNERLEITHEN Music Festival went clueless last weekend, as it held its first busking competition to mark its 10th anniversary.

Clueless was, in fact, the name of a guitar and fiddle trio of teenagers who picked up Innerleithen’s first busking title.

But, as ever, there was plenty performers not just on the High Street, but in venues across the Tweeddale town.

Pam Fraser, chair of the festival’s organising committee, told TheSouthern: “It has been a wonderful weekend, not just with the top-class acts playing to large crowds at the Memorial Hall, but with all the other events round the town.

“The Vale Club was packed all weekend, with music fans enjoying a series of great local musicians, whilst the High Street was buzzing in the sunshine with both locals and visitors on Saturday, entertained by participants in our first ever busking competition.”

Proceedings were kicked off on Friday night by Orkney siblings The Wrigley Sisters, who supported the ever popular Battlefield Band.

The opening appearance of the four-piece in the festival’s 10th year was apt, seeing as the Battlefield Band were the first to play at the event back in 2003.

Saturday saw Innerleithen favourites St Ronan’s Silver Band start the day’s entertainment, followed by the Galashiels-based String Jam Club taking a series of talented Borders musicians up the A72 to perform in front of a festival audience.

Innerleithen’s own Tommy Ashby was on the bill, along with a host of other performers for Live and Local Fringe in the Vale Club on Saturday afternoon, before the festival’s headline concert of Dougie MacLean and Manran in the Memorial Hall.

Made famous by Caledonia, MacLean’s songwriting talents extend well beyond his much-covered track about being homesick, highlighted by his Saturday night set.

While not nearly so well known, Manran have built up a strong reputation, having won two Scots Trad Music Awards last year, and festival committee member Robin Dempsey described the band’s performance as “terrific”, making them a name to watch out for in the future.

Sunday included a celebration of Sir Walter Scott and the Traditional Singers concert finale headlined by the Barbara Dymock Band.

Pam added: “A big thank you to all our sponsors and local businesses that enabled this festival to take place – still viable after 10 years – no mean feat in this financial climate, and because money is tight it is even more appreciated.

“With workshops in fiddle, guitar, percussion, song and Irish dance, a community market and a historical walk, all tastes were catered for.

“They were rocking in the Vale Club, crooning in the Masons, and the best possible noise was coming out of the Union Club.”