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Living legend to raise curtain on the first Braemar folk festival

By David Porter

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Peggy and Calum will play as part of the farewell tour in Braemar. Picture: Vicki Sharp
Peggy and Calum will play as part of the farewell tour in Braemar. Picture: Vicki Sharp

A lockdown vision to create a new music festival in the heart of the Cairngorms comes to life next weekend with the first ever Braemar Folk Festival — taking place from October 1 - 3.

Folk legend Peggy Seeger and her son Calum MacColl raise the curtain next Friday night with a concert at St Margaret’s Braemar, as part of their ‘First Farewell Tour’.

Seeger has made 23 solo discs, composed prolific volumes of music and was a major player in the global folk revival.

The Seeger family have been at the forefront of American creativity for the past century — as scholars, composers, performers and musicians.

Peggy’s parents, Charles and Ruth Crawford Seeger were both pioneering composers and musicologists while her half-brother Pete was a seminal figure in American music and the civil rights movement.

Peggy’s late husband Ewan MacColl was the godfather of the British folk revival, penning songs such as Dirty Old Town and The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, written for Peggy in 1957.

The mainstage at St Margaret’s hosts neo-trad thrillers Project Smok on Saturday evening, a trio comprising instrumentalists Pablo Lafuente, Ewan Baird and BBC Young Trad Musician of the Year 2020 Ali Levack.

Project Smok
Project Smok

Some of Scotland’s hottest young folk talent — the Tom Campbell Trio and Chloe Bryce, Luc McNally and Megan MacDonald — will lead jam sessions in pub venues throughout the village from Friday to Sunday and also run workshops for visitors to the festival of all ages and abilities.

Organised by local arts trust St Margaret’s Braemar, it is hoped to establish the Braemar Folk Festival as an annual event.

Commenting, St Margaret’s trustee and Folk Festival organiser Fergus Mutch said: “I’m really excited to see the Braemar Folk Festival come to life and we cannot wait to welcome audiences to Deeside for some sensational live music.

“Peggy Seeger is a living legend — a virtuoso musician and captivating performer and she’ll be joined in concert with her son Calum for what will be a truly unforgettable night.

“Project Smok will turn the volume up on Saturday with their trademark arrangements of driving tunes, showcasing the very best of what Scotland’s young trad scene has to offer.

“On top of that, with workshops and jam sessions taking place from Friday to Sunday, there will be great opportunities for everyone to get involved, learn some new skills and enjoy themselves.

“There’s a great lineup and a great weekend in store, so be sure to book your tickets now.”

Full details, schedule and tickets available at braemarfolkfestival.com

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