Musicians from across the country set to feature at Kelso Folk Festival

Viper Swing will play at this year's Kelso Folk Festival.Viper Swing will play at this year's Kelso Folk Festival.
Viper Swing will play at this year's Kelso Folk Festival.
Kelso Folk Festival takes place next weekend, bringing acts from across the country to the town for a full three-day programme of concerts and workshops.

The opening night concert, on Friday, September 6, features a double bill of talent in the old parish church.

The fiery fiddles of Orcadian group Fara will feature alongside the Hannah Rarity Trio, headed up by West Lothian singer Hannah dubbed a rising star and also named last year’s BBC Radio Scotland young traditional musician of the year.

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Doors open at 7pm, and the concert starts at 7.30pm. The opening night concludes with an open mic at the Cobbles from 11pm.

For Saturday afternoon the old parish church stage will belong to Borders musicians and singers.

A free lunchtime concert between 12pm and 2pm will showcase performances from Sandy Devers and friends; Peter Fry; Claire Watson’s acappella singing group; Andrew Hunter and BB Love; Ron Hastings; Chris Scott and friends; Natalie Bays; David Kilpatrick and Allan Connochie.

Afterwards there’s an open session in the Cross Keys Hotel, a singaround in Rutherfords Micropub, and a jigs, reels and polkas session in the Tipsy Ghillie, each from 2pm to 5pm.

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Saturday afternoon’s main guests, though, are Edinburgh band Viper Swing, who will play a concert in the Tait Hall.

Evoking the swing-era spirit of the 1920s to ’40s, their repertoire includes works by gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, songs from the Great American songbook, and original compositions, along with swing arrangements of modern pop songs.

Adding to the 1930s feel will be Edinburgh Swing Dance Society, which will lead a workshop on swing dancing after the concert. Doors open at 2.30pm and the hour-long concert starts at 3pm.

That evening you can catch one of Ireland’s finest, guitarist Seamie O’Dowd, in concert in the old parish church from 7.30pm. Sharing the bill will be energetic folk four-piece Old Blind Dogs, comprising Aaron Jones (bouzouki, guitar, vocals), John Hardie (fiddle, vocals), Ali Hutton (pipes, whistles, guitar) and Donald Hay (percussion, vocals).

An open mic at the Cobbles follows from 11pm.

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Sunday’s final lunchtime concert in the Cross Keys Hotel, from 1pm, is purely acoustic and features two young guitar-fiddle duos.

Jedburgh fiddler Eryn Rae with guitarist Scott Turnbull will share the stage with Edinburgh-based fiddler-whistle player Rachel Walker and guitarist Daniel Abrahams.

A farewell session follows from 2.30pm to 4pm in the same venue.

A full programme can be found at and tickets are available online at, at Brown’s Newsagent or on the door.

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Supporters are reminded that there will be no town centre access on Sunday due to the Tour of Britain event.

Parking is available in Mayfield Garden Centre for Saturday evening and at Springwood Park on Sunday.

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