Argyll Gathering – new Scottish festival debuts in August

Argyll Gathering is a new Scottish event celebrating the best of music, culture and the arts opening its doors August 19th – 20th 2017 in the stunning setting of Helensburgh. The event will showcase the best in traditional contemporary Scottish music, local food and drink and feature interactive workshops. Community is at the heart of the festival and its goal is to celebrate the best of what Scotland has to offer culturally; Argyll Gathering is not just a festival, but a platform for people to interact and form an artistic movement.

So far, artists confirmed are the former lead singer of one of Scotland’s most celebrated groups, Runrig‘s Donnie Munro, who will be performing live with a full band. The most famous bagpipe band in the world, Red Hot Chilli Pipers will be bringing their ground-breaking fusion of traditional Scottish music and rock/pop anthems, Scottish supergroup Treacherous Orchestra are the third of the festival’s headliners – their foot-stomping, Celtic rock performance is sure to blow spectators away.

The festival also boasts additional praised artists, Bwani Junction who will perform Graceland by Paul Simon, Elephant Sessions, Manran, Federation of the Disco Pimp, Jarlath Henderson Band, Blue Rose Code, Daimh, Fat-Suit, Pronto Mama and, finally Nae Plans (Adam Sutherland & Hamish Napier) will perform over both days with special guests and added surprises.

A community workshop tent, aimed at all ages will showcase music, art and the Gaelic language. There will be delicious food courtesy of Food From Argyll, sweet treats, a carefully selected beer and ale bar, an independent spirits bar and children’s entertainment will be on offer making the festival something for all the family to enjoy.

Having been born and raised in Helensburgh, Festival organiser James Windebank has seen the town evolve and change over 30 years.

“The one thing that I always wanted my hometown to have was a spectacular event that focussed on bringing people together to listen to great music, have a dram and really enjoy themselves as a community of people!”

Together with co-curator, Nick Lawrie, he and Windebank have independently worked on some of the largest cultural projects in the world and wanted to curate an event to bring out the best facets of that they have learnt working events over the years. Windebank goes on to say:

“We believe that an event such as this should enhance its home turf, and really bring something to the table. That could be a great music line up that speaks to its patrons, showcasing the gorgeous larder of Scotland, or exposing people to the rich creative culture that exists all around us.”

Helensburgh and its surroundings are renowned for their picturesque backdrop. The area is steeped in Scottish history, it has also offered events such as highland games and piping championships to carry on traditions.

Full details available from the festival website


Founder and frontman of The Red Hot Chilli Pipers and the phenomenon of Bagrock, bagpipe rock-star Stuart Cassells (32) has left the band. After nearly 10 years since forming the band, Stuart has decided it is time to step down from Bagrocking stages to pursue his other goals and opportunities.

Always a natural showman, Stuart was the recipient of The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2005 and was the first person to gain a degree in bagpipes from The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Continue reading STUART CASSELL has left the RED HOT CHILLI PIPERS

RED HOT CHILLI PIPERS – Music For The Kilted Generation (Rel Records RECD572)

Be warned, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers should be labelled with a government health warning for their seriously pleasurable excursions inflicting harm to those of a delicate disposition. They are a band guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any jaded ‘folky’ that doesn’t run a mile from the word ‘entertainment’ and if I didn’t know better I’d swear they are influenced more by Kenny G than Pipe Major Robert Mathieson. Firstly I’d like to say that if you’re thinking of buying an album for the Hogmanay period, this should be top of your list. By golly (not exactly my choice of words) the band don’t care who they nick their material from so be prepared for an onslaught of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”, Deep Purple’s “Black Knight”, Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga” and Robbie Williams “Let Me Entertain You”…and by God they do! Year’s ago I was stunned by pipe major GS McLennan’s “Little Cascade” performed by Capercaillie on their debut album. Given this re-vamped treatment by the Chilli’s with its funky percussion and horn led stabs it will get everyone into a party mood and if that doesn’t then (as my old mucker Noel Murphy would have said) you’re probably dead. If I was starting out all over again in this business we call “folk” this is the band I’d wish I’d been a member of. With a thrusting energy that will blast any preconceptions of what the mighty highland bagpipes are capable of this is a band that should thrive on the festival circuit and more power to their bellows driven elbow! PETE FYFE

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