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Upcoming Festivals – The 15th Annual Niel Gow Festival 16th–18th March 2018

The 15th Annual Niel Gow Festival 16 -18 March 2018

March in Dunkeld and Birnam. The festival is a celebration in music of the life of Niel Gow (1727-1807), regarded by many as the patriarch of the Scottish fiddle tradition, and attracts visitors from far and wide. With concerts, workshops and guided walks, there is something for everyone. And, as is the case at any festival, the informal and spontaneous music sessions which can arise in pubs and hotels often prove to be memorable highlights.  The festival begins with a solo fiddle concert at the Royal Dunkeld Hotel on the Friday night. Performers will include Hannah Fisher, Roo Geddes and Charlie Walden.

On Saturday morning, Pete Clark and Alastair Savage will be giving a recital in Little Dunkeld Church. During this performance, Pete will be playing a very   special instrument – a fiddle which once belonged to Niel Gow and was

allegedly his favourite. The festival is as much a platform for up and coming performers as for established musicians, and the “Young Fiddlers Concert” in the main auditorium of the Birnam Institute on Saturday afternoon will feature musicians from Strathallan and Ardvreck schools as well as the junior school of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Scarcely time to catch your breath before the second of three concerts at the Birnam Institute gets underway, and a diversity of fiddle styles will be on display. Returning to her Perthshire roots, Hannah Fisher will take the stage,

accompanied on guitar by Sorren Maclean. In recent years, Hannah has toured extensively with Idlewild and King Creosote. Ayrshire fiddle maestro Alastair Savage takes a break from the BBC Scottish Symphony orchestra to play with his long-standing musical companion Euan Drysdale (guitar). Making their debut appearance at the festival, Roo Geddes and Neil Sutcliffe (accordion) are a very exciting and highly innovative duo. Roo is currently a

student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and, last year, was runner-up in the Niel Gow Fiddle Awards held at Blair Castle. Completing the bill is West-highland fiddle wizard Archie McAllister, who most often these days is kept busy with the successful band “Skippinish”. Archie will be joined by Sileas Sinclair on accordion and keyboards. Saturday night’s concert features the acclaimed North-East style fiddler Paul Anderson accompanied on guitar by Malcolm Jones (erstwhile member of Runrig). They will be followed by the “Routes” quartet, led by fiddler ‘Tricia


Many of the performers also present workshops during the weekend, providing a rare opportunity to learn from some of today’s top traditional musicians. Apart from fiddle, other instrumental workshops include accordion, guitar and group work. On Sunday morning at 10.45 there will be a showing of the recently released film documentary “The Groove is not trivial”, a semi-biographical account of fiddle  Guru Alasdair Fraser’s musical life and his infectious enthusiasm for Scotland’s music.

Dunkeld & District Strathspey & Reel Society open the Sunday afternoon concert, which also features Plockton Music School, Patsy Reid and Alistair Paterson and,  from the USA, Charlie Walden and Pat Plunkett. Guided walks led by David Martin (10am on Saturday) and by Pete Clark (11am on Sunday) will provide an insight into this bonnie corner of highland Perthshire for visitors who would like to learn a bit more about Dunkeld, its history and its wildlife.

Tickets for all events are available from Birnam Arts (01350 727 674) and further information about the concerts and workshops can be found Link
Programme of Events :-


Friday 16
1:45 –
The Royal School musical afternoon

3pm – The Birnam Inn – Open Session at the Tap

8-10pm – In The Royal Dunkeld Hotel – Solo Fiddle Concert

Pete Clark / Hannah Fisher / Roo Geddes / Charlie Walden


Saturday 17

PRE-RECITAL WALK to the Birnam Oak & Little Dunkeld Church Led by David Martin, Saturday 17th March, 10am from the Birnam Institute

12:30 – 12 noon – Little Dunkeld Church –  Recital
Pete Clark & Alastair  Savage12:30 – 2pm – Birnam Institute –Young Fiddlers

Strathallan School / Ardvreck School / Junior School of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

 2:30 – 5pm Birnam Institute – – Concert

Hannah Fisher & Sorren Maclean / Roo Geddes & Neil Sutcliffe/ Alastair Savage & Euan Drysdale
Archie McAllister https://www.facebook.com/archie.mcallister.31  & Sileas Sinclair

 7:30 – 10 pm Birnam Institute – Concert

Paul Anderson & Malcolm Jones
The Routes Quartet
https://www.routesstringquartet.com/  (Tricia Mullan / Grainne Brady / Emma Tomlinson/ Rufus Huggan


Sunday 18

THE NIEL GOW WALK to Niel Gow’s Cottage for soup and a dram! Led by Pete Clark, Sunday 18th March, 11am from the Birnam Institute. (The guided walks are FREE – but donations to the Niel Gow Memorial fund gratefully received!)
2:30 – 5pm – Birnam Institute – Concert
Dunkeld & District Strathspey & Reel Society /Charlie Walden & Pat Plunkett /Plockton Music School / Patsy Reid & Alistair Paterson
Workshops at Birnham Institute & Tutors Name:-

Sat 17
10:30 Hannah Fisher
11:45 Roo Geddes

13:00 Charlie Walden


10:45 Sorren Maclean (guitar)

12:00 Neil Sutcliffe (accordion)

12:15 Euan Drysdale (guitar)


Sunday 18


10:30 Paul Anderson

11:45 Patricia Mullen

13:00 Archie McAllister


10:45 Alasdair Fraser – Film Documentary – “The Grove is not Trivial” Film trailer

12:00 Grainne Brady / Emma Tomlinson / Rufus Huggan (group work / mixed instruments)

13:15 James Ford – Harmony workshop/ Mixed instruments


While Correct at time of printing please check with festival and artists websites for any amendments / additions or alterations