Gatehouse of Fleet’s Midsummer Music Festival this year features some superb local acts as well as intriguing sounds from much further afield. The main concert on Saturday 22 June will feature Gatehouse / Kirkcudbright lads Kasama, and Dumfries-based Tiderays, both of whom have been making their mark in the central belt as well as at numerous gigs in Dumfries and Galloway. Their separate and distinctive brands of indie rock are sure to appeal to a wide range of interests, and is evidence of the growing maturity of the local music scene. Opening the show will be Balter, a four-piece all-female group, who met whilst studying traditional music in Newcastle Upon Tyne. They combine traditional and original material with percussive step-dance to create a high energy, driven sound.
Closing out the evening will be Samba Sene and Diwan. This is a welcome return to Midsummer Music for the Edinburgh-based band, an eclectic mix of musicians, led by charismatic Dakar-born singer Samba Sene. Their music is an exuberant fusion of funky mbalax/Afrobeat grooves, with undercurrents of ska, rock and Senegalese soul. Announcing the line-up, Festival Group Chair Michelle McClure enthused about the homegrown talent the event has to draw on:
“It’s great to be able to feature two local bands on the main stage, and we’re really pleased to welcome Kasama back to Midsummer Music. Both they and Tiderays have featured in our Friday night gigs in the last couple of years, and blown the smaller audiences away, but it’ll be great to see them in the big hall, with the full sound this offers. And we’re sure that Samba Sene and Diwan will have the whole hall on its feet at the end of the night.”
Michelle also outlined a number of other local acts appearing at gigs over the Festival weekend, including The Cherry Pinks, a Dumfriesshire-based act centered around the sparkling talent that is singer/songwriter Julie Ward. “Julie played solo for us a few years ago, when she had just begun appearing in public, and we’re really excited about her return with a full band. The Cherry Pinks are attracting a lot of attention on the Dumfries scene, so this is a chance for use to find out why!” The band is appearing with local indie-folk veterans The Razorbills in the Bank of Fleet on Friday 21 June. Also on the Friday is a jazz gig at the town’s cricket pavilion, featuring Les Cargo, who will cover a range of artists from Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock to Sonny Rollins.
On Saturday afternoon, The Masonic Arms will play host to Gatehouse singer-songwriter Alan of Galloway, along with Janice Burns and Jon Dorans, Newcastle-based folk musicians, just returned from a year studying music in Norway. Expect songs of the highest quality!
Interesting textures will be provided by “Borguembira” in the Mill on the Fleet Cafe on Saturday afternoon, with a performance and workshops featuring the African mbira instrument; and spine-tingling sounds from Wyrdy Women, a duo from the Glenkens whose magical harmonies are well-known in local circles. They appear at The Bakehouse later that afternoon. And packing out a busy Saturday afternoon is North-East of England based guitarist / vocalist Andy Allinson, who’ll be christening new venue The Crafty Crow.
“On top of all that,” Michelle continued, “we have our usual Youth Showcase and Open Mic events, which will let young and less young show off their talents. There’s also a music event in the Drop-In Centre on Friday evening for young people to participate in, so lots for all ages.”
And to close the weekend this year, Midsummer Music offers two sessions on the afternoon of Sunday 23 June, an “old-time” gathering at the Murray Arms, and the now customary eclectic gathering at The Masonic Arms, at which all styles and instruments are welcome.
As ever, Midsummer Music offers something for everyone to enjoy. Full details and tickets can be found at www.musicgatehouse.com, with tickets also available at Gatehouse Stores in advance of the event.