Media release: Demand high as Haal traditional music festival returns


FOLK at the Salmon Bothy are gearing up for a busy weekend from 1-3 October as the Haal traditional music festival makes a much-welcomed return to Portsoy, with demand for tickets already high.

Weekend tickets for the event are now sold out, and the Saturday night concert, featuring Peggy Seeger, is also at capacity. However, a limited number of tickets are still available for the Friday night Jimmy MacBeath Memorial Concert featuring Archie Fisher and the Sunday night farewell concert with Folk at the Salmon Bothy and special guests.

There is also a full programme of additional sessions taking place over the weekend, including a number of local bands and musicians performing at the Shore Inn and Portsoy Boatshed by the Old Harbour on Friday and Saturday evenings, and a number of free, open sessions available on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

A range of workshops are also planned, led by experts in their fields. Arthur Coates and Martin MacDonald will lead a fiddle and guitar accompaniment, and a whistle session with Dick Elliott with help enthusiasts to hit the note.

Budding songwriters can share and discuss their works in a session led by Brian O’hEadhra, while Fionnag NicChoinnich leads Scots song with a hint of Gaelic. Visitors can also enjoy a range of stories recounted by story enthusiast Erin Farley.

Not to be missed is an exhibition of weaving, mixed with Doric songs and poetry by Dundee University graduate, Kate Wilson, from Inverurie. The display needs to be seen to appreciate the skills and talent required to produce such wonderful works.

A music jumble being held in the town’s Scout Hut at Loch Soy on the Sunday from 12noon to 2.30pm offers an opportunity to grab a musical bargain. Visitors are invited to bring along instruments, books and other musical paraphernalia to sell on the day.

Organiser, Bob Philips, comments: “It’s great to see the enthusiasm for the return of the Haal, and we can’t wait to get together with friends old and new to enjoy the weekend.

“We are urging anyone who wants to join us to secure tickets quickly, though there may be last minute tickets available in small numbers. Even if visitors are unable to obtain a ticket, there will be a great atmosphere across the town over the weekend, so come along and to enjoy it over fish and chips or an ice cream by the harbourside!”

Sponsored by Kenway Tyres, Hydrasun and supported by a host of local businesses, the three-day festival is taking place after being rescheduled from June to October this year due to earlier Covid restrictions.

Information on the Haal and all of the other Folk at the Salmon Bothy events is available at or on the Folk at the Salmon Bothy Facebook page. Enquiries can also be made to Bob Philips by email at, or by telephone, 07968872217.


Notes for editors:

Folk at the Salmon Bothy in Portsoy hosts a variety of traditional music events and gatherings throughout the year.

The monthly folk club sessions continue to grow in popularity, showcasing a range of music, songs, ballads and poems. Sessions are held in the Salmon Bothy in Portsoy on the third Friday of each month from 7pm – 11pm. Details can be found at

The annual Haal music festival continues to attract the best performers from around the regions, to take part in a variety of concerts, music sessions, workshops and sing-arounds for all ages and abilities in venues across the town.

The 11th Haal due to take place on 5, 6 and 7 June 2021 in Portsoy was postponed due to Covid restrictions and will now take place on 1, 2 and 3 October 2021. Full details at

Photo is of Archie Fisher

All enquiries to:

Bob Phillips
Folk at The Salmon Bothy / HAAL Organiser
Tel: 07968 872 217

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