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Live Reviews

ELLESMERE PORT SEA SHANTY FESTIVAL - 25-27 March 2016

Festivals! How do we choose them? What is most important? Well, entertainment would seem to be number one - the chance to hear good music from your favourite artistes and, if you’re lucky, see them up close and even talk to them. But that’s by no means the only reason and, for some, it’s not even the best reason. There are many more, such as timing, venue, accommodation, accessibility, food, cost, “singing sites”, fringe, people and so on. A good festival has a large combination of these and the ShantyUK Easter Festival is a very good festival.

MAIRI CAMPBELL: PULSE - Tron Theatre, Glasgow - 27 January 2016

For many folk musicians, Celtic Connections becomes a second festive period. It’s a bit busier than the first one - there’s no lazing in front of the fire eating mince pies, it’s more of a marathon. Everyone involved is constantly running between rehearsals, soundchecks, performances, the showcase Scotland trade fair and late nights at the festival club - catching up with old friends and making new ones in what is no doubt the most sleepless month in the life of the Scottish folk musician. And now that it’s all over, I’ve heard much more complaint about the post-Celtic blues than I ever have about the post-Christmas blues!

ROOTS 66 - Theatre By The Lake, Keswick - 5-7 February 2016

You know Route 66, the fabled American highway. But do you know the A66 going through Keswick, the home of Theatre By The Lake, to Workington, the home of Fellside Records? Two fine Cumbrian institutions took a punt with a February folk festival, mainly to celebrate Fellside’s 40 years of recording and releasing albums and nurturing talent (272 releases on the folk label alone). Over three well-attended evening concerts and two afternoon showcases there were many warm words and rounds of applause for Fellside’s Paul and Linda Adams. There’s more about the label in LT112.