This year, the Scottish scene sees two new professional folk festivals. Both of them are promoted by the same festival agency - DANGER Inc.
DANGER Inc. are Danny Kyle and Gerry Chambers; Danny being a very well kent face on the Scottish scene, as one who cares very much for the grass roots of the Scottish scene, who is involved in quite every festival, and who is known for his ugly ties, his funny bonnet and his wonderful humour.
Four years ago, this agent's duo have started a new festival in Killin in the Scottish Highlands, at the foot of Ben Lawers and on the banks of Loch Tay "We were asked", remembers Gerry, "to come in and help an area which has been kind of neglected for a long time. Mayn years ago they used to have a railway station, and at those times it was a centre in the tourist area of the Southern Highlands of Scotland. But since the railway station closed, Killin became actually very much bypassed." To change that, Killin had the idea of running a folk festival; and so they asked in DANGER Inc. to help them to start a festival. And the success of the first Killin Traditional Music & Dance Festival has been tremenous; and today the Killin festival is known as one of Scotland's best - last year the festival has been totally sold out.
This year, DANGER Inc. come in with two other new festivals both sounding like good fun. What role does DANGER Inc. actually have in the festivals? Gerry: "Most festivals in Scotland are run by amatuer comittees, so I think we have the opportunity to bring a bit more professionalism into the organisation of festivals; and that from two points of view: from the artistic point of view, but also from the economical and commercial point of view - developping tourism in Scotland which is very important." They both feel that the traditional music in Scotland has been overlooked in the touristic promotion. "I learned in Ballyshannon", says Danny, "the costumers in Ballyshannon are mainly German, Australian, you know, people not Irish. And I learned from that. And I became an adviser into the Ballyshannon festival in Ireland; and I thought we can do that in another country, we can do that here in Scotland." As the success of Killin shows, they can indeed.
Promoted by DANGER Inc. is already now an attribute for a good festival; Danny: "We find that when we advertise a festival as DANGER Inc., people first book and then ask who's on; because they know they are going to have a good time, they are going to have good artists and they know it's going to be an interesting place. They know that we run our festivals not just for the music, but for the fun, so you can come and listen to music, dance and laugh a lot!"
Danny is right with his statement - at least all festivals that we have visited where Danny has been involved in, were really good fun and high quality. Now lets have a look on DANGER's two new festivals.
The Continental Ceilidh in South Lanarkshire
"A brand new concept on the Scottish scene" - carrying the European idea, the Continental Ceilidh is given the first FolkWorld Award - more infos on that at the bottom of the page!
The Continental Ceilidh has a European concept, as on this festival Scottish and Irish artists and guests from America and Canada will join with musicians, dancers and singers from the continent, particulary from the six European twin town areas of South Lanark. This festival is planned to become a very big high quality folk festival for the whole family; on a long term there are also plans to bring this festival also to other European countries!
During the week before the festival, there will be satellite events throughout South Lanarkshire, leading up to the main events and concerts in the weekend, taking place in a tented village with all facilities and campsite on the Lanark race course. The region of South Lanrak is set in the Northern Scottish Lowlands, just South of Glasgow, an area of natural beauty, that was formerly known for its mining and its early cotton industries.
This might be one of the most exciting events in the Scottish folk year 1998.
The "Heart of Scotland" Music Festival in Aberfeldy
In the Tay valley, set between Loch TAy and Pitlochry, Aberfeldy is normally a popular starting point for walking in the Grampian Mountains. In September it will be popular destination for folk music lovers, when the first Heart of Scotland Festival takes place. Irish and Scottish music, song and dance with guest artists from the international scene; well known artists as well as the uo and coming performers; concerts, ceilidhs, family events, sessions etc - all in all just good fun!
On all DANGER Inc. festivals there will be great music, lots of fun, some 'teaching' about the area, plenty of beer and - very important - also ceilidh dances. Danny: "Ceilidh dances are important for people who can't sing, like you two, who just come here and smile a lot and hand out Danny Kyle stickers. (laughing) - Dancing is probably the most world wide form of getting to know somebody, you know, and anybody can dance. So it's very important. You may not be able to understand a song, but everybody can understand a dance." - "So it's very important for a DANGER Inc. festival that it has many things in it, and that attracts people. And so far we have been right, so far..."
And here are the dates of this year's DANGER Inc. festivals:
Contact: Alex Stewart, Festival Secretary, 2 Dochart Rd., Killin FK21 8SN, Scotland; Tel (44)1567 820224, Campsite and other touristic infos: Tourist Info, tel. (44)1567 820254
Contact: Liz Clarke, Secretary, 39a Cruachan Rd., Springhill, Glasgow, G73 5ES, Scotland, tel (44)141 631-3390, e-mail
Contact: Kathleen Harvey, Tayview, Home Street, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, PH15 2AJ, Scotland, tel (44)1887 829651, e-mail
For all festivals you can also contact the festival director for information: Danny Kyle, Tel (44)141 887 9991
The FolkWorld Award is a title given to projects, people etc. that carry ideas that FolkWorld supports as well. Projects with a FolkWorld Award guarantee a high quality folk music project that is always highly recommended.
The first FolkWorld Award is given to DANGER Inc. for their Continental Ceilidh festival. With this festival, Danny Kyle and Gerry Chambers carry the European idea into a Scottish festival; and this festival might become a very big one with lots of potential. FolkWorld feels that a festival based on European Music has been up to now more or less been missing, so the Continental Ceilidh is a very good idea. Also, the Continental Ceilidh tries to promote a neglected region for tourism which is laudable; and at the same time, it wants to show their guests its regional pecularities.
And we do not want to forget the efforts Danny Kyle does every day for the grass roots of the Scottish music scene - that alone would be worth an Award!
FolkWorld gives all their best wishes to the Continental Ceilidh - may it become a huge success!
News: Danny Kyle died in summer 98. Read more about the great Scotsman in Danny's Corner.
All photos by The Mollis, the drawing by Annegret Haensel
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