A four day festival of guitars is coming to Scotland.
Scotland’s Festival Village is set to welcome an all-star line-up to play at the newly revived Moniaive Guitar Festival which starts on Valentine’s Day.
They include Celtic guitarist Tony McManus, the greatest living fingerstyle guitarist Duck Baker, the father of integrated percussive guitar (and former tutor to Ed Sheeran) Preston Reed plus the magnificent duo Hicks and Goulbourn.
The festival has taken place twice before, but years have elapsed since the last one in 2009. Artistic director Hugh Taylor has long wanted to hold another one, but simply not had time.
He said: ‘We’ve got an amazing all-star line-up, so this is a brilliant chance to hear and hang out with some of the very best guitarists in the world today.
‘We’d really wanted to get the festival going again but been too busy. Then I walked into the Craigdarroch Arms one night last year and saw they had booked Tony McManus for Valentine’s Day.
‘It struck me right away that we could build a whole festival round a gig of that calibre, so some of t together and that’s exactly what we’ve done.’
Taylor, a guitar player, writer, broadcaster, has been involved in organising festivals for the past 30 years. A former artistic director of Girvan Folk Festival he created the hugely successful Moniaive Folk Festival as a response to the economic downturn caused by Foot and Mouth disease. He was also instrumental in founding Moniaive Michaelmass Bluegrass Festival along with artistic director Paul Lyttle.
The Moniaive Guitar Festival will be a mixture of concerts and masterclasses, taking place from 14 to 17 February.
Tim O’Sullivan, who runs the Craigdarroch Arms where the concerts will take place, said: ‘As Scotland’s Festival Village, Moniaive is famous for offering intimate events where people can hear some of the very best music and mix with the musicians as well.
‘And what makes this all possible is the energy and enthusiasm of the local people who put so much time and effort into making things happen.
‘Hugh is a brilliant example of this – his energy and enthusiasm are extraordinary. Through the Guitar Festival and the other events he is involved with he shares his love of music and gives audiences the chance to enjoy incredibly talented performers from all over the world.’
The main performers are –
Tony McManus: Originally from Paisley but now based in Canada, McManus tours internationally, playing, teaching and collaborating with other top performers. At Moniaive he will be playing with Julia Toaspern, a multi-talented musician from Berlin who combines classical training on violin and voice with a wide interest in genres such as jazz, baroque and traditional music.
Duck Baker: One of the foremost fingerstyle guitarists, he plays in a variety of styles: jazz, blues, gospel, ragtime, folk, and Irish and Scottish music. He was born in Washington DC but grew up in Virginia where he first played in rock bands before developing an interest in acoustic music and jazz. He’s lived and worked all over the world but is now based in Reading. Among his records are The Kid on the Mountain, the 1981 release that was the first ever solo guitar record of Celtic music and Spinning Song, which Acoustic Guitar magazine described as ‘one of the best guitar albums ever recorded – by anybody.’
Preston Reed: One of the most influential and innovative guitarists of the past quarter century, Reed invented integrated percussive guitar playing in the late 1980s, revolutionising the way the acoustic guitar is played. Since 1979 Preston has released 15 critically acclaimed albums and performed on six continents. Born in Armonk, New York he started playing when he was eight. In the fall of 1972, after playing at a party for a friend of his sister’s, Reed was invited to perform in concert with legendary Beat poet Allen Ginsberg at the Smithsonian Institution. In 2000 Martin Taylor booked Reed to play a guitar festival in Ayrshire. There he met Catherine Maguire. They married and now live in Girvan. For many years he taught a summer guitar school in Girvan. One of his former pupils was Ed Sheerin, then aged 13.
Steve Hicks and Lynn Goulbourn: This duo has played in Moniaive many times. According to Duck Baker, Steve is one of the top four finger style guitarists in the UK. He’s also a highly skilled luthier. Lynn Goulbourn is an exceptional singer and songwriter. The music that they produce as Hicks and Goulbourn is characterised by pure acoustic tones, reflective lyrics, well crafted arrangements and intricate, complicated guitar work. Their live performances are also highly entertaining with engaging anecdotes and humour.
Main concerts –
- Thursday 14 Feb: 8pm Tony McManus and Julia Toaspern
- Friday 15 Feb: 7.30pm Duck Baker with Hicks and Goulbourn
- Saturday 16 Feb: 7.30pm Preston Reed with Hicks and Goulbourn
- Sunday 17 Feb: 2pm Hicks and Goulbourn
- Prices Individual Concerts £12.00. Workshops £5. Weekend ticket £30.00
- Box office 01848 200205