Although it isn’t taking place until September, NOW is the time to get tickets for the spectacular third Findhorn Bay Festival, writes Susan Welsh.
It begin with a simple seed of an idea and has blossomed into a spectacular showcase of art and culture, and for that, we have Kresanna Aigner to thank.
She is the creative force behind the Findhorn Bay Festival, a festival for all which showcases local talent to artists of national and international renown. The third biennial festival takes place again this year from Wednesday September 26 until Monday October 1, and with many events expected to sell out well in advance, early booking is essential.
During the festival, Moray will come alive with a spectacular showcase of arts and cultural events during Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018. Produced by Findhorn Bay Arts, and directed by Kresanna, the six-day celebration will see events take place in unexpected spaces and scenic locations around Findhorn Bay.
There’s a vibrant mixture of theatre, performance, music, dance, visual arts, exhibitions, talks, tours, educational activities and more including Culture Day Forres – Scotland’s only Culture Day extravaganza, free for all the family to enjoy.
The opening concert features one of Scotland’s best-loved musicians, the multi-award-winning Duncan Chisholm. The concert takes place in the historic St Laurence Church in Forres. Duncan will be joined by an extended line-up, a collective that includes some of Scotland’s finest talent on the traditional and classical music scenes. They will perform music from his new album Sandwood, which will be launched at this event.
Music features prominently throughout. Recently crowned BBC Radio 2’s Folk Singer of the Year, Karine Polwart, will play her only Scottish date with music from her forthcoming album in Forres, alongside her brother Steven Polwart and the Fair Isle multi-instrumentalist Inge Thomson.
Fuelled by a visceral punk spirit, The Langan Band is set to get the festival crowd dancing by the sea in Findhorn. Newly crowned winners of the Scottish Awards for New Music, Mr McFall’s Chamber will be joined by the local Bukhari Community Choir for an early Saturday evening concert taking place in the stunning Universal Hall.
A triple bill will feature Blue Rose Code (voted Scottish Album of the Year), one of the brightest rising stars on the UK roots music scene Adam Holmes & the Embers and local emerging musician, Michiel Turner, for a night of supreme musical talent.
One not-to-be missed highlight is the world-premiere adaption of The Buke of the Howlat, a 15th century epic Older Scots poem, written by Morna Young. A team of actor-musicians, a choir and a community cast re-tell this very old and very local story of wealth, power, identity and creativity.
Set at dusk, you can follow the outdoor musical adventure around the shrubbery in the grounds of the historic Brodie Castle.
From bittersweet memories to rude and raunchy, poet and playwright Liz Lochhead brings her beguiling mix of poetry, monologues and music complemented by the gentle and soulful saxophone of Steve Kettley in Somethings Old, Somethings New.
If it’s laughter you’re after then don’t miss Alan Bisset’s double bill The Moira Monologues and More Moira Monologues, while fans of the classics will enjoy Scottish Opera’s Opera Highlights. Moray-based dancer and choreographer Karl Jay-Lewin will present Extremely Pedestrian Chorales, where the everyday experiences of pedestrians become acts of beauty, meaning and comedy.
Themes of migration, language and modern identity are explored throughout the programme with events such as guided bird walks; a discussion on Scotland as a bilingual nation; while across the weekend you can see Swarm Sculptures forming and reforming with Lucy Suggate and dancers from Dance North’s (previously Bodysurf Scotland) community dance programme.
Art also takes a major role with work by award-winning Scottish documentary photographer Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert (Time, National Geographic) on display, while the The John Byrne Touring Exhibition and the Travlley Gallery will be in attendance. Local artist Kenneth Le Riche will explore observation and imagination with an exhibition at Orchard Road Studios and, exploring her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, Hannah Laycock’s work Perceiving Identity will be aptly exhibited in Leanchoil Hospital, Forres.
For children and families, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company brings the award-winning and touching tale of Martha, which has been delighting young audiences for more than 20 years.
There’s family cabaret fun with Steve Cousins, aka The Balloonatic, Cowboy Duke Loopin’ galloping into town and hula-hooping queen Toni Smith joined by local act the Mad Hatters of Moray.
Culture Day Forres returns for a fifth year. The day will see the streets, parks, shops and public buildings of Forres come alive with a carnival-esque explosion of art, music, film and dance, talks and tours and more.
For the full programme and to buy tickets visit: www.findhornbayfestival.com