Glasgow Letter – 16.9.21

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Live music has well and truly returned to Glasgow, with Atlantic Reel playing in the Islay Inn last weekend and the Park Bar music programme restarting very soon also, I believe.

I didn’t make it along to hear Atlantic Reel but have been greatly enjoying their lockdown contributions over the last year – Johnny Gillespie of Crooked Reel fame leading the live songs from the family living room with his son, young Jonathan from Trail West on the keys, and daughter Emma on vocals and guitar. They are definitely a band to catch if anyone is having a staycation in Glasgow any time soon!

That same weekend, I was travelling down to Campbeltown with Tide Lines for our first non-socially distanced Scottish festival since prior to lockdown – Mull of Kintyre Festival.

Having played MOK Fest before, I have always been amazed at the sheer number of artists and bands who take part each year and this year, despite some limits on audience numbers due to restrictions, was no different.

In the hotel restaurant before the show, we bumped into Shetland’s Ross Couper and Skye’s Peter Morrison from the Peatbog Faeries, Scots singer Claire Hastings, and guitarist Jen Butterworth. It was great to catch up with so many musicians.

Fantastic local band, Rhuvaal, started off the show in the Victoria Hall that night, followed by our good pals Beinn Lee. All were in great form and the always brilliant Campbeltown crowd reacted wildly!

Congratulations to the whole MOK Fest committee for pulling off a successful weekend in challenging circumstances given everything that has gone on in the last few months.

We took the long but beautiful journey back to Glasgow on Sunday and then, first thing on Monday, Ross and I headed back up the road to Roshven House for a filming project with Beezr Media for BBC Alba – no rest for the wicked! When we left Glasgow, the city was thick with cloud. It began to clear slightly but the top of Rannoch Moor was covered entirely in mist. As soon as we reached Onich, however, the cloud began to lift and left us with the absolute perfect conditions. Except for some people who were sunburnt and looking like lobsters by the time the cameras turned on!

I am not sure how much I am at liberty to tell you about said programme but let’s just say: it contains beautiful Lochaber scenery, scorching sun, a white beach, the shimmering Atlantic, and Fergie MacDonald…so what’s not to like?

What’s on in Glasgow
  • September 18: 10 years of Trail West in the Barrowland Ballroom
  • October 7-8: Peat and Diesel in the Barrowlands
  • October 8: Tide Lines at Kelvingrove Bandstand
  • October 15: Skipinnish in the Barrowlands, pictured above