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Live Reviews
Moniaive Folk Festival
Dumfriesshire, Scotland, 9th – 11th May 2008
airbairn
airbairn
•Photo by Janetta F
•Photo by Janetta F
•Seán and Robin Gray •Omega 3
‘One of the coolest villages in
Britain’ proclaims the quote ‘... A wonderful friendly atmosphere
from The Times on the front
of the 7th Moniaive Folk
pervaded the village. A big plus was that
Festival Brochure. But cool
it wasn’t, as hot and sunny
‘young’ people were very much in evidence,
weather blessed the festival all
weekend no doubt contributing
to the carefree and friendly
both performing and, perhaps critically,
ete Heywood
atmosphere! This compact,
unspoilt, well-preserved village
also involved in the organisation.’
•Photo by P
is certainly in a beautiful setting
•Jean, the Monrovians.
amongst rolling border hills, musicians, many of whom have
just 14 miles north of Dumfries played for years at other Scottish
and has oft been used as the festivals as ‘The Monrovians’,
backdrop for TV dramas and the bedrock of good music and
films. The village and the experience was already in place.
surrounding area is home to a The plan for 2008 was to raise the
significant number of musicians, profile without losing the intimate
some born and bred there, many qualities of the festival. At the core
more settling in various parts of the plan was their booking of
of Dumfries & Galloway which Altan, as main concert guests yet
is often described as one of still in a relatively informal setting.
the ‘hidden gems’ of Scotland. Altan’s only stage appearance
After crossing the border on the was headlining the Saturday night
west coast route, most visitors ‘concert in the tent’, but the band
head North on the M74; those were given hospitality for the
who turn to explore the South weekend and a chance to meet
West discover an area which up with their many musical friends
has much in common with rural in this particular part of the world.
Ireland. ‘Stepping back in time’ The result was easy to predict
can have both positive and - even more great sessions.
negative connotations. In the
case of Moniaive, the festival As the result of a lot of hard work,
and the area, this description considerable support was secured
carries an overwhelmingly from Dumfries & Galloway
positive message. Moniaive Council and the whole village
Folk Festival has all the positive was 100% behind the plan. They ete Heywood
qualities of the older style of were pleased with the results. A
Scottish festival, chief among wonderful friendly atmosphere
them being informal access to pervaded the village and it struck
•Photo by P
•Paul McKenna Band
musicians, with relevant nods to me that a big plus was that more
modern styles. ‘young’ people than usually seen
at such events were very much in
After six years of running the evidence, both performing and,
festival on a budget of next to perhaps critically, also involved
nothing, the festival committee, in the organisation.
chairperson Moira McCrossan
and artistic director Hugh Taylor The focus of the festival was the
decided it was time to build on Craigdarroch Arms Hotel which
what had been achieved. The provided some great outside
festival was attracting ‘those in the spaces ideal for sessions and
know’ and building a reputation the main concert venue - a
airbairn
for good sessions. This didn’t large floored Marquee nestling
come about by accident. With in the grounds at the back of
ete Heywood
people like Wendy Stewart, of the hotel. Also encompassed
Ceolbeg fame, as part of the in this compact complex was
organising committee, and with a constantly running barbecue
•Photo by P •Photo by Janetta F
the full support of local traditional stall and outdoor bar. The large •Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh , Altan •Dermot Byrne, Altan
The Living Tradition - Page 
Issue80.indd 58 14/7/08 14:55:54
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