Vamm on down to Reivers Festival

Vamm perform at the Hawick Reivers Festival
Vamm perform at the Hawick Reivers Festival

A BAND from afar – and one considerably closer to home – headline this year’s Hawick Reivers Festival.

The Teviotdale town will once again step back into the 16th century for an action-packed three days of events.

Opening the festival on Friday, March 22, is Teri, Borders and Scottish favourites Scocha.

Its another busy year for the quintet who call their music Scottish folk ‘n’ roll, with gigs across Scotland and even a trip to the International Highland Games in Germany in July.

Cath Elliott-Walker of the Reivers Festival said: “The committee are indebted to the band members for year-on-year getting the festival off to a rousing start and it will be great to see and hear them in the wonderful setting of the newly-renovated Town Hall.”

A hectic day of activities on the Saturday includes a 16th century market, stock trials for well known local characters, drama performances by local school children and felt and art workshops.

Also on the schedule is Paul Brough, recently appointed archive manager at the Heritage Hub, who will be guest speaker for the second Hawick Archaeological Society lecture, focussing on family history.

The torchlight procession and firework display will go ahead in the evening, followed by Shetland’s own fiddle band Vamm who perform the Saturday night concert in the Hawick Old Baths venue.

Vamm, meaning bewitch or enchant in Shetland dialect, is a new line-up headed by Catriona Macdonald.

She is joined by fellow fiddler Patsy Reid from Perthshire and Marit Fält – a Norwegian of Swedish parents and a graduate of the well-known traditional music course at Newcastle University.

Cath said: “Marit plays a Låtmandola an octave mandolin with an additional bass string and various other extras that complements the fiddles beautifully.

“The band played a sell-out concert in the Tron Theatre in Glasgow at the recent Celtic Connections festival and we are hugely privileged to have them here in Hawick.

“Catriona, who is normally a Denholm resident, is currently living and researching in Norway for a year and she is making the journey especially to be with us for the Reivers weekend.”

There is no rest on Sunday, as a Reivers encampment is held in Wilton Lodge Park.

The Reivers walk is making a return to the festival this year, leaving the Common Haugh for Roberton, with a lunch and concert headed by Bernie Armstrong in the village’s Foreman Hall.

And to round off the weekend, Professor Douglas Gifford, a Scottish literature expert and director of the Abbotsford Library Research Project Trust, is the guest speaker for Hawick Rotary Club’s high tea in the rugby club.

His talk on Sir Walter Scott and the ballad tradition will include performances from Joyce Tinlin and Iain Scott.

Festival programmes are available in shops around Hawick and committee members will be in the town’s Sainsbury’s store over the next two weekends selling programmes and tickets for the popular prize draw which sees the winner get the privilege of starting the fireworks display.

For more information, visit www.hawickreivers.com, with tickets for most events on sale in Bannerman Burke or online at www.borderevents.com