Scottish music fans from across Scotland and beyond will head to Angus for an annual festival this weekend with hopes for a new young audience to help keep the ceilidh tradition alive.
The 16th Angus Accordion and Fiddle Festival will strike up with opening concerts in two Arbroath venues tomorrow evening, ahead of a packed programme of pub sessions and a grand dance in the town’s community centre.
But while visiting fans have kept the event going strong for more than a decade and a half, its chairman fears a dip in the popularity of traditional music among the younger generations could see it struggle in years to come.
Accordionist Steven Carcary said: “As the founder and chairman of the Angus Accordion and Fiddle Festival, I’m concerned that crowds are dwindling slightly over the years.
“I see this happening at ceilidhs, dances and other Scottish music events all over Scotland.
“We need more of the younger generation to come to these events, otherwise our Scottish musical heritage may disappear.”
Steven is a well-known figure on Scottish music circles having grown up in the Angus area, and his connections ensure the Arbroath event always features big names on the dance music circuit.
The young players of his accordion school will perform in a Friday evening concert at Arbroath Legion, alongside his own Scottish dance band, the Lomond Ceilidh Band and Liam Stewart trio, in an event compered by Perthshire entertainer Eddie Rose.
At the other opening night concert in Arbroath’s Meadowbank, Dumfries compere John Caskie will introduce a line-up including the Iain MacPhail Scottish Dance Band, Angus musicians Scott Carnegie and Kevin Milne, Leonard Brown’s Band and the Colin Dewar Scottish Dance Band.
Steven added: “This is the 16th year of the festival which is always held in Arbroath on the first weekend in July.
“We get great support from music and dance enthusiasts from all over Scotland and the north of England.
“However, we could do with more support from our own locals to help keep this event going.”
He said he hoped the fine weekend weather forecast might encourage locals to drop in on one of the pub sessions.
“We held a successful May ceilidh in Forfar’s Reid Hall to help cover the costs of running the weekend and there are a lot of firm favourites appearing again,” he said.
“It would be great if we could get Angus folk and some younger people to enjoy the music.”