Fort’s Keir set to rock Belladrum music festival

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It looks as if Fort William’s Keir Gibson is well on the way to following in the footsteps of his musical heroes in the shape of Coldplay’s famous frontman Chris Martin and Dire Straits legend Mark Knopfler.

Just 17, Keir, who left Lochaber High School this year at the end of his fifth year, has already won over local and regional audiences with his guitar skills and rich, soulful set list.

Born into a music-loving family with whom he lives in Banavie, Keir is due to take the Free Range Stage at next month’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival.

Headline acts include Paloma Faith, Primal Scream and Amy MacDonald and Keir told the Lochaber Times this week he was really looking forward to the event by Beauly, which runs from August 2-4.

‘It will be a fantastic experience – I really can’t wait,’ said Keir, who is taking a year out to try his hand at making a full-time career in music.

‘I want to pursue music as a career and have been working closely with Sean Cousins [founding member of Scots band  Hò-rò], who has been helping me gain access to a wide range of opportunities and all aspects of the music business.

‘Belladrum will be amazing. I’ve been going to the festival since I was quite young and getting the chance to finally get on that stage and debut some of my own music will be a really special experience. Especially as my family will be coming to support me.

‘They have always been very supportive and a big shout out to my sister, Rosa, who’s been fantastically supportive and helpful.

‘And I have to put on record my thanks to my guitar teacher, Jason Thurston, who has been a massive influence on me and has helped me with every kind of music and is always on call if I need a bit of help with something.’

Among the Belladrum acts Keir is hoping to grab a glimpse of is Amy MacDonald.

‘I’d like to see her perform and a few others as well,’ added Keir, who is currently working on a new EP which he is hoping to release soon.

Asked to name his music influences, Keir reckons the Coldplay and Dire Straits frontmen take some beating.

‘If I had to pick a single main musical influence, I’d have to say Chris Martin. I really admire his songwriting skills and his stage presence.

‘And Mark Knopfler as well – he’s just such an amazing guitar player.’