Festival Of Folklore Goes Online For 2020

The Festival of Folklore returns this autumn with a brand new online format. Award-winning storytellers and Festival founders, Mostly Ghostly, are delighted to announce the second Festival of Folklore, a free online celebration, connecting with Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.

The Festival launched last year in the heart of Upper Nithsdale, and enjoyed a resounding success, welcoming guests from near and far to experience the area’s rich tapestry of history and folklore. For 2020, the Festival of Folklore has evolved to take on a new-look, delivered through a stimulating collection of live online events, videos and craft workshops.

Mostly Ghostly, who specialise in exploring the darker, more unusual side of history, have been working closely with the Upper Nithsdale Tourism Partnership for over two years, exploring ways to support community led tourism development. Greatly inspired by the area’s rich legends, compelling history and sweeping ‘mythical landscapes’, the team recognised huge potential for an exciting new Festival.

Team and Festival Founder Kathleen Cronie tells us more:

We’re thrilled to be collaborating with our colleagues from the Upper Nithsdale Tourism Partnership to present the Festival in its second year, a year that has been characterised by challenges, and one of the hardest has been spending time apart. Our ethos is about bringing people together, and we aim to do this safely, and with a strong sense of community, where folklore can be accessed and enjoyed by all.
The team are keen to ensure their new format continues to promote Upper Nithsdale’s unique identity, through a range of entertaining, educational and inspiring events.

Kathleen explains:

“Upper Nithsdale is the Festival’s proud spiritual home, and will feature prominently in the Festival programme, both in terms of local contributors, and being showcased within individual events. We feel passionately about bringing some of the area’s
awe-inspiring atmosphere to Festival audiences, whetting their appetites for the future when they can visit in person, and participate in live activities.”

The Festival of Folklore runs from Thursday 24th September till Sunday 27th, with a focus on myths, legends and dark history. Many of this year’s events will have a distinct water-based theme, encompassing seas and coastal towns, holy wells and haunted waters. Guests will be encouraged to stimulate their senses and discover some of Scotland’s rich storytelling heritage. So what can guests look forward to in the Festival programme?

Team Member and Festival Co-Founder John Hill reveals more:

“We feel privileged to be welcoming a fantastic and diverse programme of contributors to the Festival. Folklore and water are intrinsically linked, and will be explored both locally, here in Dumfries and Galloway, and across the wider country. Highlights include: Dr. Peter Hewitt’s Holy Wells and Springs of Dumfries and Galloway, Tom Hughes’ Dark Tales from Scotland’s Waters and storytelling from the Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Development Trust in their virtual walk along Mavis Bank.”

An exciting Festival first sees a collaboration with PAMIS (Promoting A More Inclusive Society) and brings together Multisensory Storyteller, Heather Molloy, and Mostly Ghostly’s Mary Wood, as she reprises her role as Old Mother Mary. The two have adapted The Sanquhar Fairies – a Mostly Ghostly story – to create an interactive and inclusive experience, featuring props and a downloadable resource pack. Participants can access live craft workshops and create props, helping them bring the story to life from their own homes.

The team are also keen to spotlight the talents of young performers:

Kathleen said:

We are pleased to welcome two young performers, who will share their incredible talents: nine-year-old author L.M. Owens, will present a story, sparked by her interest in the famous Sanquhar Knitting Pattern, and young harpist, Hector McQuarrie-Parkes, will enchant us with his beautiful music.”

Partnership working continues to be a top priority for the team, who are thrilled with the level of support received.

Team Member and Festival Co-Founder John Hill said:

The support for this year’s Festival has been amazing! Building on strong foundations, we’re developing events with existing Festival partners, while forging new friendships and collaborations with some fantastic results. In the face of adversity, people have been generous and enthusiastic with their offers of support.”

Rose Murdoch, Chair of the Upper Nithsdale Tourism Partnership, said:

In these unprecedented times, we (Upper Nithsdale Tourism Partnership) are delighted that we are still able to host the Festival of Folklore, albeit in a very different format. Our inability to hold large events and gatherings has enabled us to be a bit more creative about how we can continue to engage with both the community and visitors to the area. Indeed, we hope that the online format will still enable us to showcase the area and its history and culture, and possibly whet the appetite of potential visitors in the future.”

Marketing consultant, Lorna Young, who has been supporting the Upper Nithsdale Tourism Partnership, said:

“The rich heritage of Upper Nithsdale and the creativity of Mostly Ghostly is a winning combination. It’s fantastic to see the second Festival of Folklore take shape and adapt its delivery to Covid restrictions. Telling the stories of our people and places is a really positive way to create tourism interest in rural communities, and engaging with their own heritage is hugely valuable for members of the community too. This year’s Festival programme has lots to offer, and I look forward to seeing the Festival of Folklore go from strength to strength.”

Summing up, Kathleen said:

“We’re very excited about welcoming our online community to the second Festival of Folklore! Folklore is synonymous with Scotland and we plan to shine a spotlight on some our country’s most intriguing aspects. We feel passionate about promoting Dumfries and Galloway, and working with people who share similar values, to produce a memorable Festival that will attract people from far and wide. Our vision is that the Festival of Folklore with become a destination event in our region’s exciting Festival calendar, and we hope that many will add it to their must-experience list!”