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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.


Amber delights: Dougie MacLean’s arts and music festival

October 28 2016

Perthshire Amber, the award-winning arts festival which shares music, celebrates Perthshire’s history and culture and showcases its spectacular autumnal scenery, kicks off again next week. Developed by folk legend Dougie MacLean, the festival brings together entertainers from across the world for a four-day extravaganza in an inspiring range of venues. Dougie, 61, is one of Scotland’s most successful and popular musicians, best known for his moving song Caledonia. Brought up in Perthshire, many of his songs have been inspired by the landscape and its people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_vg_0_A-sg Now in its 12th year, Perthshire Amber promises a stellar musical line-up and fun days out for all the family. Many of the festival’s concerts have already sold out, but there are still limited tickets available for some concerts and lots of fun to be enjoyed. The opening concert on November 3 will feature Glasgow singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson in the garden marquee at Dunkeld House on the banks of the RiverTay. A major festival highlight will be Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia Cantata on November 4 at Perth Concert Hall. Here, Dougie will take to the stage with strings and Celtic musicians to create special renditions of his wonderful melodies and compelling songs. On November 5, the Dougie MacLean and Friends concert at Perth Concert Hall promises lively collaborations with the likes of Julie Fowlis, Siobhan Wilson, Tim Edey, Cilla and Artie from The Singing Kettle, Ross Ainslie and more. At the heart of the Festival is the village of Dunkeld, which is the location for the Decorated Wheelbarrow Parade and Amber Autumn Picnic and Concert on November 6. The open air event will feature Canadian songwriter Buddy MacDonald, duo The Coaltown Daisies, singer Katie Kross, instrumentalist Tim Edey, The Goat Roper Rodeo Band and of course, Dougie. Bring a picnic, wear your wellies, wrap up warm and enjoy a great afternoon of free music. There will also be acoustic music sessions happening afternoon and evening in pubs in Dunkeld and other towns across Perthshire. Ahead of the festival, Dougie said: “Ticket sales are going really well this year and lots of people are coming for all four days, so many concerts are selling out ahead of time. “The line-up is fantastic and I am really looking forward to playing with this eminent crowd of musician friends. “Perthshire is a joy at this time of year, so we are really looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to enjoy some great music and a very warm welcome.” info Perthshire Amber: The Dougie MacLean Festival, takes place at various venues across Perthshire from November 3 to 6. www.perthshireamber.com


Friends return for 10th year of Perthshire Amber

September 25 2014

Almost a decade ago a weekend of small concerts took place in a bid to celebrate Scots folk music and attract out-of-season tourism to Perthshire. At the heart of the event, called Perthshire Amber, were much-loved singer/songwriter Dougie MacLean and his wife, Jennifer, so it is perhaps no surprise that it proved so popular. Now, as it celebrates its 10th outing, it is one of the key musical events in Scotland’s second Year of Homecoming. This year’s birthday bash looks likely to be the biggest yet, with record ticket sales and a staggering array of talent. More than 9,000 visitors are expected to make their way to venues across Highland Perthshire from all over the UK and already 22 countries worldwide. They will enjoy 10 days of entertainment from more than 350 stars, including an array of returning favourites. In addition to the afternoon and evening concerts, the festival also runs its Amber Discoveries, an increasingly diverse series of walks and talks, workshops, cabaret, open mic sessions and pub sessions in and around Dunkeld and Birnam. Festival director Jennifer MacLean is delighted that the programme has been so well received. “I can hardly believe that this year we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of the festival,” she said. “When we first put on a weekend of concerts back in 2005 I had a feeling that we had a special concept, combining the beauty of autumnal Perthshire in the heart of Scotland with the music of Dougie and his talented musical friends. “Nonetheless, I couldn’t have imagined this mushrooming effect and I’m really pleased with the growing numbers and enthusiasm for the festival year-on-year. “I’m really thrilled also with the audience’s reaction to this year’s programme. “We have brought some of the festival favourites from over the years back to the festival, including Eddi Reader, the Paperboys, Duncan Chisholm and Emily Smith, as well as inviting great new talent to join the Perthshire Amber Festival family.” Dougie himself has had a huge 2014 celebrating 40 years as a touring musician by featuring at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He said: “It’s been a fantastic year with many highlights and I am really looking forward to this year’s Perthshire Amber. “I’m thrilled that the RSNO will be joining me for a very special concert at Perth Concert Hall on October 31 and I am also pleased that we are having two evening concerts in Blairgowrie as that’s where I played some of my first gigs over 40 years ago.” Perthshire Amber Festival takes place between October 24 and November 2. For details visit www.perthshireamber.com or call the box office on 01350 724261.


Perthshire Amber festival planning special events for 2014

May 12 2014

The Perthshire Amber festival is marking its 10th birthday this year by inviting some of the brightest stars from past events. One of the musical highlights will be Dougie MacLean performing with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Perth Concert Hall on Friday October 31. The festival, which was founded by MacLean and his family, started out as a weekend of concerts. It has grown year on year and organisers are expecting to reach an audience of 10,000 during the 10-day festival this year. The packed programme features homegrown talent, including Emily Smith, Tom Spiers and the Mischa McPherson Trio, and a cluster of international musicians, including The Paperboys from Vancouver, Eliza Lynn from Nashville, and Buddy MacDonald from Cape Breton. Perthshire Amber is one of the Homecoming 2014 events and a new development the festival is launching a heritage day. That is planned for the first Saturday of the event in Dunkeld and will celebrate the history and culture of the area. It will include a themed decorated wheelbarrow procession through the town, as well as historical re-enactments, food and drink, traditional children’s games and storytelling, and live music. Dougie MacLean said: “We can’t quite believe it’s been 10 years since we started Perthshire Amber and, from small beginnings, we are proud that it’s grown to be so popular. “The thing that really sums up what’s great about the festival is that increasing numbers of people return year on year from all over the world and so it’s like catching up with old friends. “Perthshire is especially stunning in autumn and I don’t think music fans will get a better welcome than the one they get in Dunkeld. “We have some really inspiring talent performing this year and a fantastic variety of venues. There’s plenty to celebrate and I’m really looking forward to the festival already.” Tickets go on sale this week. For details, visit www.perthshireamber.com.

Perth & Kinross

Dougie MacLean to bring back Perthshire Amber festival

March 13 2018

Perthshire Amber, the music festival organised by folk legend Dougie MacLean, is making a comeback after a year-long hiatus. The live music extravaganza, which attracts thousands of fans from around the world, took a break in 2017 because "superstitious" organisers were worried about going ahead with a 13th consecutive year. Bosses have revealed the festival will return in November, albeit in a more streamlined form. In a statement on the festival's website, director Jenny MacLean - Dougie's wife - said she had been taking calls from all over the globe, asking about Perthshire Amber's future. "It has definitely been good for us to have a break from organising the festival in 2017," she said. "As a result Dougie and I had a truly creative year, with more time for our wonderful grandchildren and the rest of the family. "At the same time, you must all realise that Dougie and I genuinely love getting together with our team and bringing folk from all over the world to enjoy Perthshire in the autumn. As well as sharing the music of course." She said the plan was to distil Perthshire Amber to one weekend - November 2 to 4 - with music in pubs across Dunkeld, a Caberet Amber evening, an open mic event and "a big Dougie concert on Saturday in Perth Concert Hall." There will also be a farewell show on the Sunday afternoon. Jenny said: "For the festival to carry on for years to come - as we would all like it to - it must be something that we all look forward to. A scaled back, simplified festival will give more time for our organising team to enjoy each others' company and the music." Perthshire Amber began as a two-day event in Pitlochry in 2005. It grew to attract around 10,000 visitors a year from up to 26 countries and brought around £1 million to the local economy. Its cancellation came as a major blow to the area, which at the same time lost the T in the Park festival. Among the acts who have appeared over the years were Eddie Reader, Duncan Chishol, Rachelle Sermanni and Emily Smith.

Perth & Kinross

Festival concerts sell out months in advance

July 19 2016

A music festival which last year attracted people from 27 countries to Perthshire will be staged again this autumn for the 12th year. Perthshire Amber – The Dougie MacLean Festival has already sold-out four of its concerts and festival organisers are predicting another successful year. Renowned singer songwriter Dougie MacLean, who is the musical director and founder of the festival, will be joined by a mix of musical talent, including Julie Fowlis, who will perform in the atmospheric Murthly Castle Chapel and Perth Concert Hall, Duncan Chisholm, who takes to the stage in Dunkeld Cathedral and Castle Menzies, as well as festival favourite Tim Edey who will charm audiences at the Crannog on Loch Tay and other venues. Cilla Fisher and Archie Trezise of Singing Kettle fame will also be joining the all-star cast at the Dougie MacLean and Friends concert, as well as Artie performing Artie’s Tartan Tales in the Wee Festival Hall. This year the award-winning festival will run for four days rather than ten as organisers have taken the decision to condense and refine the festival, while still maintaining the popular mix of concerts, sessions and community events. The festival’s opening concert will feature Siobhan Wilson from Glasgow who follows in the footsteps of Rachel Sermanni (2014) and Bella Hardy (2015) who both performed at opening concerts in their respective years and have both gone on to achieve great critical acclaim. Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia Cantata is on Friday November 4 when he takes to the stage with strings and Celtic musicians to accompany his melodies and songs. On Saturday November 5 Dougie MacLean and Friends promises lively collaborations and an entertaining evening of music.  Both concerts take place at Perth Concert Hall and tickets can be bought from the festival box office or directly from the concert hall. The festival is committed to supporting emerging talent and the Cabaret Amber hosted by Gina Macleod and Alan Jordan will run in the early evenings and the ever-popular open mic will take place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the Wee Festival Hall, Amber Central (Royal Hotel, Dunkeld). The decorated wheelbarrow parade returns to the streets of Dunkeld and after the success of the Amber autumn picnic (which attracted crowds of 2,000 last year) will return and includes a free concert in the beautiful setting of Stanley Hill, just tucked in behind the main street in  Dunkeld. The pub sessions also continue with the pubs in Dunkeld and surrounding villages hosting sessions of free music and new for 2016 are the café concerts, which will be intimate music concerts in the late morning or early afternoon in relaxed settings throughout Perthshire. Jennifer MacLean, festival director said: “We’re delighted once again with our line-up for 2016, and I’m amazed by just how much inspiring music and celebration you can cram into four days."


Wide range of top musicians lined up for Perthshire Amber Festival

October 16 2015

A variety of musicians are lined up to perform at this year’s Perthshire Amber Festival. Held throughout the county, the artists taking part will include Dougie MacLean, Dallahan, Emily Smith, Rura, Ross Ainslie, Blazin’ Fiddles, Karine Polwart, Benny Gallagher and The Wrigley Sisters. Beginning on October 30, the festival will run for 10 days and will feature 25 venues, including castles, Dunkeld Cathedral, the ancient Iron Age Crannog on Loch Tay and Perth Concert Hall. The Byre at Inchyra, which dates from 1877 and was once home to the cattle from the Inchyra Estate, is a new festival venue this year. There will be host of international artists playing this year, including Bella Hardy, Elliott Morris, Jess Morgan, Jessie Will and Stanley Samuelsen. Dougie MacLean, co-founder and musical director of the festival, said: “We are so excited about this year’s festival. “Tickets are going very well, with several concerts sold out. “It is the best time of year to visit the wonderful region I call home. “I am especially excited about performing my Caledonia Cantata on Friday November 6. “It’s going to be a great night with so many fantastically talented musicians joining me on stage I think it’s going to be a really special one.” Ian Smith, head of music at Creative Scotland, said: “The continuing success of the Perthshire Amber festival is testament to Dougie MacLean’s global reputation as a singer, songwriter and composer. “The festival makes a significant contribution to the Perthshire area and supports Scotland’s music scene by creating a fantastic platform for a range of outstanding performers. “The festival deservedly has an international reputation celebrating Scotland’s great cultural and creative heritage, especially in music.” Last year, the festival broke records by bringing more than 10,000 visitors to Perthshire with an economic impact of well over £1 million which festival organisers are keen to extend this year. For more information visit www.perthshireamber.com.

Perth & Kinross

Perthshire produce sure to gain chorus of approval at Rewind Festival

July 9 2011

Perthshire's chefs, farmers and food producers have joined forces to ensure visitors to this month's Rewind Festival at Scone Palace will get a real taste of quality local produce. Jim Fairlie at Logiealmond, Jamesfield Organic Centre and Thomas Thomson (Blairgowrie) Ltd will be among the producers joining Perthshire Farmers and Producers to serve an expected crowd of 15,000. The group was set up by Mr Fairlie and his wife Anne McGhee two years ago to tap into the market for quality Perthshire produce at events across the area. Mr Fairlie said, "Having attended a number of events in the area over recent years, Anne and I noticed that there was a real gap in the market for catering which offered fresh, local produce to visitor. "All too often, the food on offer was of poor quality and based on produce brought in from outside Perthshire. "We were frankly astonished that so many event organisers were not making the most of the rich larder available right here on our doorstep." He added, "It's a win-win situation, really. Visitors to events go away more satisfied and at the same time we're able to provide a platform for local farmers and producers to showcase their products to a much wider audience." They have already achieved significant success, attending T in the Park for the first time last year, followed by the Etape Caledonia in Highland Perthshire. This year, in addition to Rewind, they are returning to T in the Park and attending the Rally of Scotland at Scone Palace in October. In preparation for Rewind, the couple are hard at work with chef Graeme Pallister, of 63 Tay Street in Perth, to develop an innovative menu for visitors to the three-day festival. Scone Palace administrator Elspeth Bruce said, "Research has shown that for many visitors culinary tourism is an integral part of their travel experience and that there is increasing demand from visitors to sample distinctive local food and to taste traditional cooking. "We are therefore really delighted that Perthshire produce will be showcased in such a great way at Rewind and that produce grown and reared on our own estate will feature so prominently on the menu."


Perthshire Amber to attract thousands

April 30 2011

Thousands of music fans are to descend on the area as the increasingly popular Perthshire Amber festival returns for its seventh year. Phil Cunningham, Kris Drever, John McCusker, Heidi Talbot, again at the concert hall, on Saturday, November 5. Organisers believe the festival offers a winning combination of fantastic music, stunning scenery and a special selection of venues, including castles and concert halls, ancient Dunkeld Cathedral and the replica iron age crannog. The venues have all been carefully hand-picked by festival director Jenny MacLean, who said, "There is something so special about Perthshire in autumn time and I chose these venues carefully with the performers and the audience very much in mind. "It's so important to Dougie and I that we create the right atmosphere for each event, because that's one of the ingredients that makes Perthshire Amber unique." This year marks the festival hub's move south from Pitlochry. Jenny said, "We are delighted to be moving the festival hub to Dunkeld as the special concert venues we've chosen just seem to radiate out from it. "Rest assured there'll still be a wealth of activity going on in and around Pitlochry, with great concerts at the Pitlochry Town Hall and at Edradour. "We're taking over the whole of the Royal Dunkeld Hotel with our admin base, session bars and restaurant on the ground floor with the Open Mic, Cabaret Amber and the Big Knit well housed in its spacious upstairs hall and lounge. "The local businesses have been really supportive and are thrilled at the prospect of the large number of visitors," she added. "It's anticipated that some events will sell out very quickly and though programming Perth Concert Hall as a venue for two very special concerts gives us some extra capacity, we're urging early booking to avoid disappointment." They will flock to see the array of top international acts announced by event organisers Jenny MacLean and acclaimed Scottish singer, songwriter and composer Dougie MacLean. Highlights will include rising star Emily Smith, Jimmie McGregor, Phil Cunningham, Archie Fisher and a host of stars from Scotland's folk and traditional scenes, as well as Beoga from Ireland, Eliza Lynn from the USA and Canadian Buddy MacDonald, all performing alongside Dougie. The 10-day festival will take place from October 28 to November 6 in venues throughout Perthshire and for the first time will move its hub from Pitlochry to Dunkeld. It began in 2005 as a weekend of music and has grown to become an important part of Scotland's musical calendar. Last year's event contributed over half a million pounds to the local economy and drew almost 7000 visitors from 20 different countries to Perthshire. Organisers were left stunned by the recession-busting growth in ticket sales but are daring to hope this year could be even bigger.For full details of the line-up visit www.perthshireamber.com, where tickets can also be booked. Alternatively, call the ticket hotline on 01350 724 281. To book accommodation during the festival, go to www.visitscotland.com.This year is particularly special for Dougie MacLean as he recently received two prestigious Tartan Clef Awards, a place in the Scottish Music Hall of Fame and an OBE in the New Year honours list. Dougie is internationally renowned for his song Caledonia, his music for the film Last of the Mohicans and performances worldwide. "This year looks like being a really special one for me," he said. "I've got some great concerts and festivals during the summer and I'm really looking forward to playing with many dear friends and greatly talented musicians at Perthshire Amber later this year. "I can't wait to welcome everyone, from near and far, to beautiful autumnal Perthshire once again." Among the highlights of the festival will be a series of events at which Dougie will be joined by some big-name friends. Blair Castle plays host to Dougie and Archie Fisher on Monday, October 31, for The Legends Concert while the Cathedral Concert on Thursday, November 3, sees Dougie joined by the Jenna Reid Trio, Greg Lawson and Pete Garnett in Dunkeld Cathedral. The following day Perth Concert Hall will host Dougie MacLean with Strings and Choirs as he presents some of his classic songs and his instrumental composition Perthshire Amber in the company of InChorus and the Lothian and Borders Police Choir. Finally, Dougie MacLean with Friends will see him joined by Moishe's Bagel, Jimmie MacGregor,