Crail Festival 2017 A look back at a great festival

It was been heartening to hear so many positive comments about this year’s festival. The adult events catered for a range of tastes and offered genuine talent and undoubted quality. Similarly, the children’s programme covered an array of opportunities including art, crafts, performance arts, entertainment and sport. Both the putting green and art exhibition go from strength to strength and, despite the weather, the street market thrived.

Perhaps the greatest strength is the tremendous support we receive from sponsors, friends and the organisations who kindly allow us use of their buildings as venues. Nothing would be possible without a hard-working committee, supportive trustees and our wonderful volunteers. The sum of all these parts makes Crail Festival a successful feature of the summer. Thank you all!

Finally, a thank you to everyone who attended events. Your loyal and enthusiastic support is much appreciated.

Preparations for 2018 are already underway and I look forward to welcoming everyone to the 34th Crail Festival running from 18th to 28th July.

Ian Mooney, Chairman

Day 1 - Wednesday 19th July

Horse McDonald

The first night of the Festival was a memorable, unforgettable musical experience. Superlatives are almost inadequate to convey the atmosphere and quality of performance which held an enthusiastic full house spellbound. The Coaltown Daisies, such a talented duo with a warm, engaging stage presence are clearly on an upward path. Horse McDonald, accompanied by Gemma Filby her keyboard player and backing singer, gave a high energy stellar performance, an absolute mesmerising tour de force! Wow!

Day 2 - Thursday 20th July


ZooLab returns to Crail with a variety of exotic creatures fascinating children and grannies too!

Drama Workshop for Children

This proved to be an afternoon packed with fun and creativity saw our budding young actors joining in mime, improvisation and drama games. Laughter resounded round the British Legion Hall as our local drama coach, Jacquie Salkeld, expertly led the enthusiastic group in a wonderful and energetic drama workshop.

Crail Folk Club Anniversary Concert

This was a truly memorable evening of celebration with the very best of the Scottish Folk scene entertaining a rapt, enthusiastic audience. Scalded Cats, Adam McNaughton, Sangsters and Sheena Wellington in their own inimitable styles captured the essence of the broad , evocative, descriptive, poignant, plaintive, uplifting, humorous tapestry of Scottish folk music. Needless to say the Burns Songbook featured prominently. Sheena Wellington was the first performer at the the fledgling Crail Folk Club 30 years ago so it was very fitting that her iconic rendition of 'A Man's a Man for A' That' brought this wonderful concert to a close.

Day 3 - Friday 21st July

Crail in Bloom - Bake Off Competition for Kids

Mary Berry would be amazed at the awesome results of Crail’s very own Bake Off. G. H. Barnetts Bakers generously provided the cup cakes and Hazel Cuthbert showed everyone how to work with fondant icing to create flowers, leaves and insects. Sprinkles of fun and laughter resounded throughout the hall. After very difficult decision Ethna Murray was chosen as the 2017 Winner.

Michael Christian Durrant

It was very fitting that all the tickets were sold for the wonderful performance by Michael Christian Durrant, truly a stellar classical guitarist with a natural ease and presence. Widely travelled, his superb programme led us from Italy and onwards to Germany, Spain, France, Japan and Uruguay before returning to Spain for his stirring encore Francisco Tarrega's 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' (Memories of the Alhambra', almost mesmerising!) We expect for many in the audience the surprise piece was Sakura (Cherry Blossom) in which the dramatic sounds of Japanese instruments were brilliantly portrayed by his guitar. Throughout the evening Michael was able to capture the fragility of music with dulcet tones and also produce exquisite melodies of hypnotic quality. The imagery he created, whether the stillness inside a Cathedral or the busy streets outside, was palpable. As for the 'Vals' (Waltz) by Augustin Barrios Mangore, it painted a picture of such grace and elegance. We all left Holy Trinity uplifted and very aware that we had shared an exceptional musical evening in Crail.

Day 4 - Saturday 22nd July

The Crail Festival Street Market

The Street Market this year was a little damp, but despite the unfavourable weather, proved to be an enjoyable day. The stall holders, as always had a fabulous range of mostly handcrafted goods, and included jewellery, hand-made cards, soft furnishings, and original homewares. There was also great food on offer from The Cheesy Toast Shack and venison burgers from The Screaming Peacock. The children’s games were very popular as always, even in these days of digital distractions the old favourites were much enjoyed, along with the marvellous Jamie the Jester and Foxifaces face painting. Sadly, we lost our lovely Andrea, who put so much hard work into the organisation. We are now looking forward to 2018, and hoping for a lovely dry day. If you have original crafts you would like to showcase, and have not attended the Market before, you can contact us with your details via the website. The Market books up very quickly, so don’t leave it too late if you want a place.

Vladimir McTavish's Stand Up Comedy Night

Vladimir McTavish's Stand Up Comedy Night certainly lived up to expectations with the Community Hall resounding to laughter for about 2 lively hours. Jay Lafferty, as the compère, gently teased members of the audience as she skilfully created a very relaxed atmosphere before introducing Keir McAllister. Keir provided a wry look at many worrying aspects of life today. Marc Jennings, an English Literature graduate from Clydebank, increased the tempo with his quick repartee and powers of description flavoured with 'Glasgow Patter'. He was 'pure dead brilliant, by the way'! This all paved the way for the arrival of Vlad who amply justified his seeding as the headline act. His zany, at times outrageous humour took us from Ardrossan, Glasgow, to the train taking the long route from Waverley to Glasgow, and onwards to Kuwait where somehow or other pork pies in condoms featured descriptively and prominently. His segment passed all too quickly! A 'fandabbydozy' evening confirming that 'see Comedy, you cannae beat it'!

Day 5 - Sunday 23rd July

Trio Ecossaise

Holy Trinity Church was filled with the wonderful music performed by the hugely talented Trio Ecossaise with Jennifer on clarinet, Claire playing the piano and Harriet the consummate cellist. The programme included music for Trios written by such luminaries as Beethoven, Glinka and Brahms. However, the 'Elegie' by Faure was only for cello and piano but the combination was sublime. Somehow the fact that the 3 musicians are Scottish added to the enjoyment of their superb performance.

Day 6 - Monday 24th July

Children’s ‘Under the Sea’ theme Art Workshop

Enthusiastic children enjoyed 2 hours of collage, print making and painting techniques to create their own masterpiece. Hats off to Crail Art Group for running inspiring sell out events every year.

Hilary James & Simon Mayor

Hilary James and Simon Mayor brought the superb trilogy of musical performances in Holy Trinity Church to a spectacular, memorable close. The enthusiastic full house was totally absorbed and frequently amazed by the virtuosity of these two remarkable musicians as they took us on a musical tour which included the Lake District, Lancashire, Yorkshire Dales, France, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and the Appalachian Mountains. Hilary sang blues, jazz, English folk , French folk in French and also Song of India by Rimsky-Korsakov in French. Such a wonderful, expressive voice. Simon amused us with his clever poems about 'The Stick' and 'King Canute at Cleethorpes'. He also bemused us with his sublime musical skills on the guitar, fiddle and above all his mandolin which in the playing of the 'Atholl Highlanders with Hilary on the MandoBass was able to substitute for the Massed Pipes and Drums! The Edinburgh Tattoo will hear about this! We also delighted in Cajun style, Appalachian Blue Grass, New Orleans sounds in the 'Taxi Horn Rag' (composed in Reading) and Gypsy music, but the piece de resistance was surely Handel's classic 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba'. This evening was an absolute breathtaking 'tour de force'.

Day 7 - Tuesday 25th July

Fossil Hunt

Local expert geologist, Stuart Allison, led a 20 strong group of intrepid children down to East Neuk shore line to discover fossils so close to home. We’re not talking about the retirement community here! This was an adventure to learn about the creatures and plants which survived here millennia ago including evidence of plants (left) and a fossilised tree limb (right). Wow!

Musical Mystery Show with Hilary James and Simon Mayor

Hilary and Simon, playing a bass mandolin and a guitar so wonderfully, had children and adults alike rolling about laughing at their funny songs whilst also learning about the instruments. A truly wonderful afternoon as you can tell from the photos.

Red Wine Productions - The Wit & Humour of Alan Bennett

A large appreciative audience in the Community Hall enjoyed live theatre at its very best as Red Wine Productions - Alan Tricker and Brenda Hunter- brought the Wit and Humour of Alan Bennett to life. Alan and Brenda introduced us to the delights of Beyond the Fringe, read selected amusing, topical entries from his diaries and gave us a superb glimpse of the poignancy of old age and dementia in Bennett's autobiographical play "Cocktail Sticks". The TV series Talking Heads was a Bennett masterpiece and Brenda's moving performance of Susan the Vicar's wife in the dramatic monologue "Among the Bed of Lentils" captured the socially challenging elements of a beautiful script. In contrast Alan played the delightful role of Desmond dictating a "Telegram" on the phone. This short comedy introduced the staid BBC audience of the day to the cryptic meanings of NORWICH and BURMA! We all departed uplifted, we had learned a great deal about a National treasure, and we had been wonderfully entertained by two outstanding actors. Thank you Red Wine Productions for a special, memorable evening.

Day 8 - Wednesday 26th July

Ceramic Workshop for Adults with Jenny Rae

Ceramic Bird baths, expertly taught by Jenny Rae, were order of the day,. Concentration was palpable and everyone was amazed to discover skills they never had.

Robin Laing - The Whisky Bard Show & Tasting

The Legion Hall took on the feel of a cosy front room as Robin Laing, The Whisky Bard settled into his gig. Song, conversation and whisky flowed as Robin eased us into a world of the finest malts. An evening sponsored by Kingsbarns Distillery began with a tasting of Wemyss “The Hive” and a melodic offering by Robert Burns, no stranger to the golden stuff. We had to imagine “Whisky for Breakfast” as Robin introduced his vast self-penned repertoire. While sipping Aberlour “A’bunadh,” he transported the audience to the sultry warmth of Andalusia and the native sherry casks that help warm many a whisky glass. Next stop the USA, all together we climbed Heaven Hill, Kentucky in a song of love won and lost. Just the merest hint of bourbon apparently colours and adds hint to our national drink. When the interval arrives in the blink of eye you know you have been richly entertained. The break sparkled with lively conversation then the second half began with the Scottish Malt Whisky Association offering “SMSA Glentauchers.” We journeyed back home as Robin sang a hilarious parody based on “The Wee Cooper O’ Fife.” In an instant we parachuted lyrically into Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of Jack Daniels, a brand ironically produced in a “dry” county. “Port Charlotte” the final malt completed the tasting experience before the journey next took on an element of time travel as the audience arrived in the shivering wastes of Antarctica. The early 20th century explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew survived their icy ordeal fortified by McKinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt. Later exploration found cases of whisky under their base, a story told in song with Robin’s own “Shackleton’s Hut.” Although Scotland’s own, we discovered whisky is produced all over the world from Sweden to Japan and even in Africa. Robin finish his set with a couple of risqué offerings delivered with such humour and good grace and received in the glow of a magical evening that no one could take offence. It is no wonder that Robin Laing is well travelled, this year taking his songs and stories to Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and even England. Later visiting Norway, Denmark and New Zealand. A hard won and deserved title of “The Whisky Bard” he has a voice as warm and smooth as the drink he sings about.

Day 9 - Thursday 27th July

Krafty Kid’s Workshop

Anyone for Shell Art, Ribbon Weaving and Origami? At a fiver it was a bargain and of course a sell-out.

The Bevvy Sisters

The Bevvy Sisters with David Donnelly in support with his guitar and bass vocals showed just how far they had advanced the classic sister act as portrayed by their forebears the Andrews Sisters, the Beverleys and the Boswells. The appreciative audience was surprised by the breadth of their versatile performance which embraced Jazz, the Blues, Gospel, with a hint of the American Songbook. The number of original songs confirmed their undoubted pedigree as songwriters with David Donnelly's contribution well to the fore. His song 'Waterline' was particularly descriptive and poignant. Songs written by Stevie Wonder and Michael Mara featured but the undoubted highlight was their very interpretive rendition of the Otis Redding timeless classic 'Sittin’ on a Dock of the Bay'. Another great musical evening in the Community Hall which is such an integral venue at the Crail Festival.

Day 10 - Friday 28th July

Ceramic Robots, Spacemen & Daleks’ Workshop for Kids

Imagination had no limit at this ceramic workshop. Under the expert guidance from Jenny the children created some weird and totally wonderful creatures.

Festival Quiz

The Festival Quiz was certainly a lively, fun, enthusiastic , competitive event in the friendly environment of the Kirk Hall. There were 10 teams of 6 with a nice range of ages. The first 4 rounds featured Music, People and Place, Sport and TV and Film. Each was conducted by a different Quiz Master (Mistress). The individual round featured 'Flags of the World'; and the final round was a challenging 'Picture Round'. Tony Kingsbury was a splendid, relaxed compère, Geoff Robinson was a firm Arbiter and the whole event was carefully arranged and orchestrated via his new Keynote Software by Ian Mooney, Chairman of the Festival Committee. The winning team after a hard fought battle were the 'Young Ones'. Many congratulations. Always a great night in the Festival programme!

Day 11 - Saturday 29th July

Fused Glass Workshop with Keny Drew

A new creative experience at Keny Drew’s Fused Glass Workshop!

2017 Putting Competition

Crowds gather to take part in the annual competition.
The three best juniors, Stuart Cochrane, Owen Alan and Ross Mallory
Junior Winner, Ross Mallory, is presented with the Graham Cox Memorial Trophy by Crail Festival Chairperson, Ian Mooney
George Morris wins the Helen Main Memorial Trophy with a score of 36

Throughout the Festival

Never too young to enjoy the fun

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