Stalwart’s absence can’t mask success of Mull Music Festival

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Sometimes you have to miss your favourite music festival when your daughter is taking part in a dancing competition. But one woman, from Ballachullish, who has descended on Mull every April for the past 10 years, was virtually there despite not being present at all.

When friends of Marion Richie, who lives in Fife, found out she wouldn’t be taking part in their annual outing to the Mull Music Festival, they came up with a novel idea of bringing her along anyway – by having masks made of their friend that they wore everywhere around Tobermory.

Taking in bands such as Trail West, Tide Lines, Horo, Chunks, Crooked Reel, Gunna Sound, Heron Valley, Beinn Lee Ceilidh Band, Dun Mor Ceilidh Band, Ruairidh MacLean, Allan Irvine, Davy Holt, Crooked Reel and many more in venues throughout the village, the masks became a feature of the hundreds of people attending the four-day event.

While Mrs Richie missed out as her daughter, Erin, was taking part in the Scottish heats of the Dance Challenge UK, she said it was worth it as her daughter’s team won a place in the national finals.

Many people from Oban took the ferry to the island to enjoy the festival and sat out in the nice weather enjoying some unseasonably warm sun.

Hopes of the start of a long summer were dashed by Monday when the heat turned into large lying flakes of snow.

Party-goers were undeterred, with some still seen to be wearing straw hats while sheltering under the eves of Macgochans pub on Monday.

While the music was mainly Scottish – think folk-rock, fiddles, accordions, Gaelic singers and plenty of ceilidh – the audience was very much international with a few hen and stag parties thrown into the mix.

Joanie Mackay, who lives in the village, summed up the event, saying: ‘Where in the world can you get live music from top quality musicians for four days?

‘Well done to all the businesses and hotels for bringing folk together and all having great craic.’