LIKE most events around the world this summer, the Keith Traditional Music & Song Association (TMSA) Festival had been cancelled – due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, keen to ensure that Scottish traditional music and song enthusiasts don’t miss out on their ‘Keith fix’, the committee then organised for the festival to become a virtual one instead.
Over the course of what would have been the Keith Festival weekend – Friday 12 to Sunday 14 June 2020 – many of the events that would’ve been held are moving online and on to radio.
The Keith TMSA Virtual Festival was announced on the festival’s social media accounts by BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Take the Floor’ presenter and Manran band member, Gary Innes, who was supposed to be performing on Saturday night.
Work is underway to prepare a number of special events on Facebook as well as shows to be broadcast on Keith Community Radio (KCR) so that people can still hear from the guest artists that would have been appearing at the festival.
Commenting on the upcoming virtual event Keith TMSA Festival chair, Kathleen Anderson, said: “We are so disappointed that we are unable to hold the festival as normal. It’s such a great showcase of traditional music and song and a fantastic way to catch up with friends old and new.
“However, we’re delighted that our fantastic guest artists and friends of the festival have been willing to help us in producing a virtual festival online. We were keen to ensure that folk still got their Keith Festival fix and that we were able to give folk a wee bit of entertainment – especially in these difficult times.
“We’re also very grateful to KCR for agreeing to broadcast so much traditional music and song over the weekend meaning there’s a variety of ways people can enjoy the virtual festival.
“Hopefully it will show the wide array of talent that we have at Keith Festival and may even encourage some new folk, or those that haven’t been for some time, to come back, in person, in 2021.”
On Friday, the festival’s Facebook page will be host to a virtual dance, using footage from the last five years of old time dances and there will be a live sing-a-round where people can join in at home with some of their favourite songs. Meanwhile, on KCR an archive show from the 25th festival will be broadcast.
The show, which was aired just weeks after the festival’s silver jubilee, was presented by the late Charlie Johnston and consists recordings of sessions and special performances from singers and musicians who were at the festival that year.
Saturday will see a series of virtual concerts broadcast on Facebook over the course of the evening, consisting of special performances by many of those who were due to perform at the festival. Radio listeners will be able to hear a mixed concert of music and song just like being at one of the festival’s concerts.
Finally, on Sunday, KCR will host a two-hour selection of Scottish dance music whilst over on Facebook there will be some archive footage from previous festivals including some previous Chorus Cup winners. The virtual festival will conclude with a very special performance of The Festival O Keith – widely seen as the festival’s ‘anthem’ which is always sung at the end of the festival weekend.
The Keith TMSA Virtual Festival runs from Friday 12 June to Sunday 14 June in on Facebook and KCR – 107.7fm.
More information and links can be found at www.facebook.com/keithfestival
Notes for editors:
Photo attached is of Brian Gear & Band playing at TMSA Keith Branch’s ‘Open Air’ Concert
Contact: Kathleen Anderson – TMSA Keith branch chair – Tel: 07719 491849
The Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland (TMSA), set up in 1966, is a membership organisation whose core aim is to foster and promote Scotland’s unique musical traditions.
TMSA branches provide opportunities for universal participation by running festivals, ceilidhs, concerts, workshops and competitions. The branches sustain the specific cultural traditions of their area, as well as those of Scotland generally. TMSA Keith branch organises one of the longest-running annual folk festivals in Scotland and helped greatly in Keith being the first town recognised as a ‘Scots Toun’ in the country.
The TMSA believes grassroots participation in traditional music and song involving all parts of the traditional community is fundamental to the continued authentic voice of professional performers, to the very cultural identity of Scotland and its relationships with other countries. More details at www.tmsa.scot
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