Findhorn Bay Festival has launched its full Festival programme. The 4th Findhorn Bay Festival will take place from Friday 23 September – Sunday 2 October and will present a spectacular ten-day journey of exploration and discovery for Scotland’s Year of Stories offering glimpses into the past and hopes for the future, and experiences of nature, culture and adventure.
Communities in Moray and beyond will have a unique chance to celebrate and appreciate Scotland’s stories, heritage, landscape, and people.
Set in unexpected spaces and scenic locations, and marking the 10th anniversary of Findhorn Bay Arts, the programme boasts an eclectic, vibrant and wide-ranging mix of outstanding Scottish art, theatre and performance, storytelling and live music, alongside family-friendly events and a whole host of open and accessible creative activities.
The music programme kicks off the Festival in style with the opening event, Heal and Harrow, featuring two of Scotland’s celebrated folk musicians Lauren MacColl and Rachel Newton. Inspired by the 16th and 17th Century Scottish witch trials, this new project pays a humanising tribute to these women while also exploring historical beliefs in the supernatural and modern-day parallels in our society.
The opening day also sees a unique opportunity to see three of our finest folk musicians in one triple bill – Martin Simpson, Findlay Napier and Malcolm MacWatt. Festival favourite Karine Polwart makes a welcome return with her latest project in collaboration with jazz/folk pianist Dave Milligan. Hamish Napier returns to the Festival, this time with his own line-up including Patsy Reid and Innes Watson, when he performs his award-winning album The Woods, winner of the ‘Album of the Year’ at the Scots Trad Music Awards.
The festival’s music highlights will include several events commissioned for Scotland’s Year of Stories. These include acclaimed composer Gareth Williams with Songs from the Last Page, and a new musical collaboration Sing Me a Story featuring Allan Henderson, Margaret Stewart, Ewen Henderson, Sileas Sinclair, Ewan Robertson and Duncan Chisholm. Calum Stewart will presenta celebration of the legends, landscapes and lore from the North of Scotland with music from his album Tales from the North.
Other music highlights include Dean Owens and The Sinners and Scottish Ska band Bombskare. Siobhan Wilson and Kathryn Williams present a double bill and jump aboard the Chattanooga Choo Choo with Brian Kellock and Colin Steele as they pay homage to the giants of the jazz world. Emerging local talent Jacob Aigner-Reid and his band Beggar in the Heights will be accompanied by specially created images and projections.
The performance programme includes two premieres with Undertow Overflow, a collaboration between Ben Harrison (the award-winning director behind the 2018 Festival hit The Buke of the Howlat) and multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Amy Duncan. Moray-based dancer, Sharon Took-Zozaya premieres her new theatre and dance piece Finding Petunia Little Tree. Dance North revives its dance show Savage following two sell-out runs at RISE. Magnetic North brings its gig-theatre piece Lost in Music, inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Other shows include Rocket Post!, a joyful mix of songs and storytelling for children aged 6+; Maria MacDonnell’s Miss Lindsay’s Secret, a true tale of sewing and 1900’s sexting and Company of Wolves’ Unbecoming, a solo work performed by co-artistic director Anna Porubcansky.
The Festival will host a range of family-friendly events including circus stalwarts PyroCeltica with Here be Dragons; Rowanbank with Forest Circus, a magical woodland walk meeting fantastical characters along with way; The Cabaret of Misfits, an evening of circus performance, music and installations and Story Wagon, a touring story sanctuary offering traditional storytelling activities. The RSNO have teamed up with leading Scottish children’s theatre company, Visible Fictions, to present Yoyo & The Little Auk. It is the perfect introduction to orchestral music and storytelling for 3-6 year olds.
For the first time in 50 years, a tall ship – The Lady of Avenel – a spectacular 102ft Brigantine square-rigged ship, will arrive at Buckie Harbour for the Festival, bringing the story of Moray’s local coastal and maritime heritage and culture through music and storytelling. Conceived by Scottish musician and tall ship captain, Barry Nisbet, the project is supported by EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022 and is presented in partnership with the Elphinstone Institute and sponsored by Associated Seafoods.
Aidan O’Rourke and James Robertson bring their epic multimedia installation 365: Stories and Music to the Festival – a collection of modern-day stories by one of Scotland’s leading authors, accompanied by music from fiddle player and composer Aidan O’Rourke. Riverwoods is a spectacular and compelling visual journey and shines a light on the perilous state of Scotland’s salmon. The feature-length documentary, filmed and produced by rewilding charity SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, tells the story of an inextricable relationship between fish and forest and is a rallying call for restoring native woodland to Scotland’s river catchments and all the life they support.
Visual arts play a strong part in the Findhorn Bay Festival and celebrates the wealth of Moray-based artists. In 2021, local artists, Lynne Strachan and Mary Bourne developed an arts project in The Cabrach, an estate and largely depopulated rural community in Moray. This exhibition explores some of the challenges facing this community, telling the story of its past and its present and inviting you to be its future. Moray-based artist, Diane Main presents Wild Life, an exploration of woodland drawn from daily walking observations. She delves into the paths and furrows of local forests, picking a party through dense foliage, called and uprooted trees and the tangled thickets of this tactile and visceral landscape. This exhibition will also feature artwork of Main’s participants who attend her studio class.
On an environmental theme, Land is an exploration of environmental sentiment from Moray’s coastal communities. EcoArt will be running a flag design and making workshop for people who want to send a signal to the world.
In addition, the Combine to Create Collective practitioners will be running pop-up activities throughout the Festival. Combine to Create is a collaborative programme of creative activities supported by Creative Scotland through the Culture Collective Fund. The Festival is also delighted to welcome the culmination of Findhorn Bay Arts’ Small Halls artists-in-residency programme. Four artists were paired with four rural village halls in Moray to create a site-specific work in response to the unique narrative of the hall and its community. The culmination of this work will include live music, food, art and more.
Keep an eye on the Festival’s Out and About programme – events and activities including walking tours, performance art and family events. And lastly, look out for the Festival Markets in Forres and Findhorn on each Saturday of the Festival, selling wares from an abundance of Moray growers and makers.
To view the whole programme, visit findhornbayfestival.com
Kresanna Aigner, CEO/Creative Director, Findhorn Bay Arts said: “We are delighted to welcome the Festival back after a four-year break. Stories are the lifeblood of every community, and this special year of Scotland celebrating the ‘Year of Stories’, our Festival is all about connecting us to life and people. We have over 100 events planned over the ten days and with something to suit all ages and tastes, we cannot wait to welcome you to the 4th Findhorn Bay Festival”.
Karen Dick, Head of Place, Partnership and Communities, Creative Scotland, said: “This year’s exciting programme offers unique and unexpected experiences, from traditional music to family-friendly events. It also creates opportunities for Moray based artists to shine, including pop-ups from Combine to Create, supported through Culture Collective.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Findhorn Bay Festival as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022. From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and this year’s Findhorn Bay Festival will showcase the local area and present an inspiring and diverse programme.”
TICKETS & BOOKING
By phone: 01309 675333
In person: Festival Box Office, 86 High Street, Forres, IV36 1NX
Photograph: Lynne Carberry. www.curiouscranberry.co.uk