A variety of musical performers will feature in the ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival’s 30th anniversary celebrations on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July 2023. With three stages across the festival site, an eclectic mix of local bands, renowned artists and groups will play.
Renowned Highland rock band RhythmnReel will bring their upbeat, foot stomping tunes as headliners of the Big Gig on the Back Green, which is sponsored by Gray Composting Services Ltd, on Saturday 1st July 2023, with support from Arthur Coates and Kerran Cotterell.
Tickets are available to purchase now from the festival website. This licenced event is for 18s and over.
Formed in 1993, RhythmnReel have a loyal fanbase both at home and abroad, performing in Germany, Switzerland and Holland, aswell as appearing at festivals across the UK. Their distinctive songs and melodies combine thumping bass, drums and guitars, with the traditional sounds of the fiddle, whistle and Highland bagpipes and the warm tones of the saxophone. The band released their album ‘Holding out for Freedom’ in July 2021.
David Urquhart, chairman of the ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival commented: “Over the years we have welcomed many local groups, renowned artists and bands to Portsoy. As this is our 30th anniversary, we have extended our musical programme to bring back some well-known favourites but also introduce some new acts, representing a range of award-winning and legendary performers, musical genres and styles. It is great to have RhythmnReel join our musical line up, they are in demand across the country and are guaranteed to close the first day of the festival on a high note.”
The annual ACE Winches Scottish Traditional Boat Festival takes place in Portsoy, on the north east coast of Scotland. More than 15,000 visitors are expected to attend to see a flotilla of traditional boats drop anchor in Portsoy’s historic harbour, alongside a programme of crafts, music performances and local food and drink, over the two days.
Performing their unique style of Quebecois traditional music, fused with influences of North America and the British Isles is Arthur Coates and Kerran Cotterell. The talented duo will play a range of instruments including the fiddle, guitar, bouzouki and feet percussion to create their unique sound, which remains true to their traditional musical roots. As well as supporting RhythmnReel, visitors will have the opportunity to see them on the Harbour Stage and the Back Green Marquee throughout the weekend.
Sharing a life-long love of Gaelic music and song, attending the festival for the first time is the Sea Maids. Linn Phipps and Catherine Baikie are traditional singers in Scottish Gaelic and in English and as Na Maighdeannan-Mara, they will perform a range of Gaelic and folk shanties and solo songs around the theme of the islands and the oceans that surround them.
Linn and Catherine met through the Lothian Gaelic choir. Over the last two years, Linn has delivered 60 learn-song workshops via Zoom, to audiences in Australia and the US. Catherine has also performed in Zoom choirs for Hogmanay and as part of the Orkney Folk Festival. They have appeared at the Soundpost Sings Festival and Oban International Sea Shanty festival, performing Gaelic luadh or waulking songs. These would be sung by women whilst rhythmically beating the tweed to shrink and soften it. Typically, one woman would sing the verses and others would join in on the chorus. Stories and songs were an integral part of sailing life, fishermen would often sing choral songs whilst carrying out their work and rowing the boat, matching the stroke of the oars to the rhythm of the song.
David continued: “We are delighted that the Sea Maids, Linn and Catherine can attend this year’s event. They are extremely talented singers and as well as singing on our Harbour Stage, they will also be holding Gaelic workshops during the festival weekend, where visitors can learn some traditional Gaelic songs and shanties. They will give an insight into the strong maritime connections between music and the sea, sharing the songs which brought Scottish coastal communities together whilst at work and at sea.”
The Portsoy Pipe Band will officially open the Harbour Stage, which is sponsored by Hamlyns of Scotland Oatmeal, on Saturday,
Fair Trickit, who were immensely popular last year, will return on Saturday and Sunday. The Cullen-based, ukelele playing twin sisters Charlotte and Chloe Hay, sing a mix of covers and their own self-penned songs.
Fife-based singer songwriter Cody Feechan, who supported Skerryvore at the festival last year, is back to showcase her new material. Following a series of appearances at King Tuts and the Barrowlands in Glasgow, Cody’s powerful vocals and distinctive sound has attracted airplay on radio stations across the UK. See Cody on the Harbour Stage and Back Green Marquee throughout the weekend.
Festival newcomers Brother Sea, will sweep you away with their hypnotic vocals and songs of heritage and folklore, like stories shared around a campfire. Sharing her north-east roots and love of traditional music and bothy ballads is Ellie Beaton from Rothienorman. A finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2021, Ellie became interested in traditional music at a young age and studied Classical Voice at Aberdeen City Music School.
Music teacher and also a finalist in the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the year Amy Papiransky, is a classically trained and talented multi-instrumentalist. Described as ‘a little bit of Dolly and a bit of Carole King with the piano’ by KT Tunstall, Amy has toured Canada, America, Ireland and Germany. She also played at the prominent Lotus Temple in New Delhi.
Folk at the Salmon Bothy will once again host the Folk Club Stage in the Drying Green Marquee. Club regulars Alyson and Neil McConnachie and Mike Blackburn will perform some of their own compositions. Bill Gray will sing songs of the North East, whilst Paul Kersley will cover songs by Dylan, Cohen and many others. Raising the roof will be Moonshine Madness and
Sir Reel Clarks, featuring Aaron Clark. Fyvie, Ugie and Tarves Folk Clubs will also take to the stage during the weekend and there will be informal sessions in the evening, where budding musicians and vocalists can get involved.
Reverend John Gow will launch Sunday’s proceedings with a ceremonial ‘Blessing of the Fleet’. Alongside the medley of music there will be dance performances from festival favourites, the Anne McArthur Dancers and Scotland’s first competitive skipping club Skip 2 the Beat. The group recently took home 45 medals from the Scottish Speed Skipping competition, 11 gold, 21 silver and 31 bronze and will wow visitors with their fast-paced skipping stunts.
This year’s festival is sponsored by ACE Winches, Glenglassaugh, Gray Composting Services Ltd, Puffin Wood Fuels, Moray West, Macduff Shipyards, Portsoy Thrift Shop, Twice Buried Rum Co, Urquhart Joinery Services and Hamlyn’s of Scotland Oatmeal.
Entry to the festival is discounted when purchased in advance online, for a day festival pass the prices are £15.30 for an adult, £9.90 concession and £6.30 for a child. Alternatively, a family day pass can be purchased for £35.10, or an adult weekend pass is £19.80. A weekend family pass, for access to the festival on Saturday and Sunday is £45.00.
Tickets can be purchased on the festival website