The 2018 Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival hits all the right notes with its diverse programme of world-class music.
The festival kicks off on Friday, 26 May, with a classical concert by the Scottish Ensemble who will perform a collection of works and movements by Mozart at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries, on 25 May.
Scottish traditional music features high in the line-up of critically acclaimed performances at this year’s festival, beginning with Impressions of Galloway with Gavin Marwick and the Scottish Ensemble.
Galloway fiddle player and composer Gavin Marwick is one of the region’s best musical exports. His 10-piece Journeyman Project is described as a “festival on stage” and a “phenomenal experience.” The festival will host another of Gavin’s innovative and exciting concerts on Sunday, 27 May, at the Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries, when the Journeyman Project takes to the stage with the Scottish Ensemble for a one-off classical/trad concert featuring new music written by Gavin. This unique event promises to be spectacular with a merging of some of the best trad musicians in the country with the sublime musicianship of Scotland’s premiere string orchestra.
Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 Folk Band of the Year, Talisk, are one of the fastest rising acts on the UK folk scene in recent years. Mohsen Amini, concertina; Hayley Keenan, fiddle; and Graeme Armstrong, guitar, create a captivating, energetic and dynamic sound that, in just a couple of years, has earned them multiple award wins, unwavering nationwide media praise and standing ovations far and wide. They come to the Ryan Centre, Stranraer, on 1 June with support from Stranraer trad singer Robyn Stapleton and popular local band The Cl’yholers. They will also play at Dumfries Theatre Royal on 2 June with support by talented Scottish string trio Kate in the Kettle.
Popular BBC personality and Gaelic singer Mary Ann Kennedy brings her first solo tour to the Gordon Memorial Hall, Castle Douglas, on 31 May. She will be supported on the night by 22-year-old Stranraer musician Catrìona McGhie.
Scotland’s national musical treasure Dougie MacLean will grace the stage of the Buccleuch Centre, Langholm, on 1 June, with a concert showcasing his unique blend of lyrical, roots-based songwriting and instrumental composition; and Greg Lawson and Pete Garnett will perform a concert of Scottish music and beyond at Davington Schoolhouse, Eskdalemuir, on 2 June.
Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter have been entertaining festival audiences for a number of years with their eclectic mix of folk music from across the world. They come to the Cresset Hall, Loch Arthur, Beeswing, on 2 June.
There are many shows outside the Celtic musical tradition, including innovative indie/jazz sounds from New York-based Doonhamer Ben Bryden who brings his Bright Noise show to the Usual Place, Dumfries on 30 May and Colvend public hall, on 31 May.
Anda Union hail from Mongolia and are leaders in a musical movement finding inspiration from their country’s ancient cultural traditions, while raising awareness of the threat to their heritage through climate change. They bring their unique sound of throat singing to Lockerbie Town Hall on 1 June and Newton Stewart Cinema on 2 June.
Other musical highlights include Blackbird Opera with Sanquhar soprano Claudia Wood and friends, who will be joining the Scottish Ensemble at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries, on 26 May, to perform Sir Walter Scott in Music and Opera; songs of unity and harmony from the Cairn Chorus in Moniaive, Dumfries and Dunscore; the Galloway Agreement team up with poet Tom Pow to present The Village and the Road in Dumfries; the Galloway Consort will give a concert in Kirkcudbright; and en route from John O’Groats to Land’s End by bicycle, prizewinning baritone David Jones pauses in Moffat to perform Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel alongside folksongs from his journey, Song Cycle.
These are just some of the many musical highlights taking place at this year’s festival. Full programmes are available from outlets across the region or online from www.dgartsfestival.org.uk.
Tickets from the Midsteeple box office, Dumfries, on 01387 253383 and the Wigtown Festival Company on 01988 403222. There is a half price ticket offer for everyone aged 26 and other for main festival events and special offers for multiple shows.