Haddington’s Trad on the Tyne festival (www.tradonthetyne.com), which is organised by Haddington Pipe Band and takes place in the town from 29 – 31 August, has published its final programme, with the headline acts – Karine Polwart, Blazin’ Fiddles, the Friel Sisters (in the Music to Dine For evening), and Alex Hodgson – being joined on the bill by the Victorian Trout Conspiracy and dynamic duo Rachel Gray and Amy Low. A ticket hotline (07511 515 049) has also been opened, while there’s again a strong programme of family entertainment, including a re-enactment group, and other activities.
An impressive list of workshops sees top musicians from the traditional music scene coming to the festival. Mairi Campbell will be taking two workshops this year – in singing and in step dancing – while David Francis is running a guitar workshop and Nigel Gatherer will take a mixed instruments class.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing workshops this year is in African dance, with Ghanaian dancer Adie Elias Baako of the Akrowa Dance Ensemble running a class on the Sunday.
This year’s come-and-try-an-instrument classes include chanter, ukulele, moothie, clarsach and percussion.
With the event hosted by Haddington Pipe Band, in association with the Waterloo Bistro, piping also features heavily, with Haddington Pipe Band parading through the town before performing at the Haugh (the festival’s main home for the weekend) on the Saturday and pipers and drummers from Haddington, North Berwick, Preston Lodge, Strathearn and Knox Academy bands playing together in a massed pipes and drums performance on the Sunday afternoon.
Two local bars – the Golf and the Waterside – will host late-night sessions for anyone wanting to come along and play or sing, while the Open Stage on the Saturday offers the opportunity to play (or just sit back and enjoy the music). A ‘slow session’, led by Nigel Gatherer, will also be on offer for people at all levels, including early stages, to come together and play easy tunes.
For children, as well as the come-and-try classes, there’s storytelling by Heather Yule in the beautiful yurt, pony rides, face painting, a bouncy castle, sand bottling, and a balloon man. New to the programme this year is a re-enactment group. The Sealed Knot – Manus O’Cahan’s Regiment will be at the Haugh on both Saturday and Sunday, complete with weapons and clothing, to show people how life was in the 17th century.
Another big attraction is top magician Gary James, who will be entertaining youngsters on the Sunday morning.
Last year’s Craft Tent was a great success and this will again be open to visitors at this year’s festival, with a fine array of stallholders, while the Waterloo will be hosting a brunch and acoustic music session on the Sunday morning.
“We have been very fortunate in being able to bring some amazing musicians and teachers to Haddington for this year’s Trad on the Tyne, including possibly the finest singer/songwriter in the land – Karine Polwart – and the Folk Band of the Year – Blazin’ Fiddles,” said Ian Green, honorary president of the festival. “As ever, the programme offers people of all ages the chance both to enjoy listening to great music and to take part in plenty of other activities, mainly but not only music-related.
“In these challenging times, we’d also like to thank our sponsors, who have made the whole event possible. Now, thanks to them and our volunteers – that is, everyone who has organised this event – we are looking forward to welcoming folk from Haddington, elsewhere in East Lothian, and further afield to Trad on the Tyne 2014. We very much hope that they will see what a great place Haddington is and that they enjoy the festival.”