50 Years of Marymass Folk Festival – A few clips and a preview of the book

On what would have been the weekend of Marymass Folk Festival, were it not for the Covid interruption, here are a few ‘historic’ audio and video clips for you to enjoy – featuring Iain Mackintosh, Adam McNaughtan, The Sands Family, Eric Bogle, Bill Barclay and the 4 A’s. Plus a chance to see some of the content for the book ’50 Years of Marymass Folk Festival, which is now almost ready to go to press. You will be able to order it over the next couple of weeks to get your very own ‘First Edition’. It is a large book, over 350 pages, lots of photographs, many memories and a few things you may be surprised to find out. An absolute bargain at only £20. Order via the Irvine Folk Club website.

THIS VIDEO WILL BE PASSWORD PROTECTED UNTIL 7.30 PM THIS MARYMASS SATURDAY. So look out a bottle, perhaps get some stories on the go, and sit back and enjoy. USE THIS LINK TO SEE THE VIDEO. It lasts around 30 minutes.   vimeo.com/449733144

Help us spread the news: The 46th Marymass Folk Festival, Wed 21st – Sun 25th Aug

This information about Marymass has been added to the website.  In response to discussion at the AGM, this is a reminder to all members and friends to start to get the word out about the festival.  To paraphrase what Danny Kyle might say “Tell your Gran, your friends, eveyone you meet that the Marymass Folk Festival is the place to be this August.  It’s going to be great, mega …  be there!”

The 46th Marymass Folk Festival, 2013

Wednesday 21st – Sunday 25th August… on the picturesque Clyde Coast opposite Arran lies Irvine…. it’s a 30 minute train journey from Glasgow.

There are concerts, sessions, an open stage competition, events in schools, community concerts and not forgetting two World Championships – the amazing Whammy-Diddling and the even more amazing Chuckie-Chucking.

Artists booked so far are – Wendy Arrowsmith; Celine Donoghue & Neil Sturgeon; Emma Durkin; Nick Keir; The Paul McKenna Band; The Stavanger Harbour Band; Bram Taylor

Umpteen good reasons therefore to come to Irvine in the third week in August…..and we haven’t even mentioned the other attractions happening in the town at that time – a Horse-Drawn Parade, Fireworks Display, Flower Show, local Football Derby, 10K Road Race, Heritage Tours……..

Irvine in August – come and join us!

World Championship titles go to Stavanger and Saltcoats!

It was two musicians Eivind Hodne from Stavangerand Stephen Quigg from Saltcoats who won the World Whammy-Diddling and World Chuckie-Chucking respectively on the final day of the 45th Marymass Folk Festival.

The World Championships came at the end of what had been an excellent  Marymass Folk Festival.  Packed sessions at The Ship with musicians and punters in nearly every corner, a tremendous final concert on Marymass Saturday in the Volunteer Rooms held together in fine style by Bill Nolan and many  other highlights made it a memorable 45th Marymass Folk Festival.

Winner of the Marymass Whammy Diddling championship

But, to the World Championships. Double Bass player with The Stavanger Hrabour Band Eivind won the Whammy-Diddling title in a keenly fought, tactical battle.  Mustering all his puff, not easy the day after Marymass Saturday, Eivind managed to land the championship with a whole one point.  Speaking afterwards, a delighted  and somewhat bemused Eivind said – ‘It is overwhelming.  I am going to take this sport to Norway.  We need to spread this sport throughout the world.’

Shortly afterwards, Stephen Quigg who had been playing throughout the five day festival romped away with the Chuckie-Chucking championship.  For those who understand the scoring system of this event – and they are few – Stephen won with two sets plus a four. That meant he won!  ‘Winning the World Chuckie-Chucking Championship for the third time is a great pleasure’ said Stephen.  He added, ‘To be up there with Anna Gilmour – formerly of Dreghorn and now living in Dundee, the other three times champion.is quite something.’

The much-sought trophies and even more sought after bottles of Glenfiddich, were presented to Eivind and Stephen by Marymass Folk Festival’s Joyce Hodge.

Musicians and Whammy-Diddlers this way please!

The 45th Marymass Folk Festival 22-26 August

The annual Marymass Festival in Irvine is now well underway and as an integral and popular part of the town’s celebrations, the 45th Marymass Folk Festival swings into action on Wednesday 22nd August for a five day musical thrash.  It starts on Wednesday afternoon in gentle fashion with Coffee Afternoon Folk climaxing on the Saturday night the 25th with the fabulous new band The Outside Track.

Among the 20 folk music events on offer there are lunchtime folk sessions at The Ship Inn at the Harbourside, mini-concerts in five local schools, and an afternoon concert especially for senior citizens.  Marymass Queen Elect Emma Morrison will formally open the 45th Marymass Folk Bonanza on Wednesday night at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road followed by the Open Stage Competition.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings there are concerts featuring artists with one common denominator – they are all quality musicians and singers who excel at entertaining audiences.  Artists this year include Celine Donoghue & Neil Sturgeon, Stephen Quigg, Tom McConville & David Newey, The Barbara Dymock Band and Heather Heywood. International representatives are Irish band Drantan, The Stavanger Harbour Band and from Ireland, England and Scotland- The Outside Track.

All this plus not one but two world championships to be contested! The tricky Whammy -Diddling and the baffling Chuckie-Chucking.  Both championships will be played to a finish on Sunday 26th August at Vineburgh Community Centre and participants are quite possibly already limbering up so that they are in peak condition.  What’s involved? Go along on Sunday at 2pm and find out!

Community events, pub sessions, concerts and world championships – it must be Marymass Folk Festival.  All info from Joyce Hodge on 01294 551047

Marymass Folk Festival 2012 – Detailed Programme

Marymass Folk Festival 2012 Flyer
Marymass Folk Festival 2012 Flyer

Programmes are now out for the 45th Marymass Folk Festival which runs from Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th August.  You can pick one up at any North Ayrshire Library, the HAC inIrvine, Museums, The Magnum and many places in the South West too.  Or, if you can’t find one, phone Joyce on 01294 551047.


Festival guests: The Barbara Dymock Band, Celine Donoghue & Neil Sturgeon, Drantan, Tom McConville Duo, Stephen Quigg and The Stavanger Harbour Band will be playing at various times during the Festival.

Wednesday 22nd August

Coffee Afternoon Folk
Mure Church Hall, West Road: 1pm-3pm, £2

Formal Opening of the 45th Marymass Folk Festival
The Marymass Queen Elect will open the Festival followed by
The Open Stage Competition
Vineburgh Community Centre, Quarry Road: 8pm – 11pm, £5

Thursday 23rd August

The Thursday Lunchtime Sessionwith Festival Guests
The Ship Inn, Harbourside: 12.30pm – 2pm, Free

Concert for Senior Citizens
Sponsored by Irvine Rotary Club
With Festival Guests
Woodlands Centre, Kilwinning Road: 2pm – 4pm, Free

Singers’ Concert
with Barbara Dymock, Heather Heywood, Celine Donoghue & Stephen Quigg + Festival Guests
Vineburgh Community Centre, Quarry Road: 8pm – 11pm, £15

The After Concert Singaround (Open to concert-goers only)
Vineburgh Community Centre: 11pm-ish until late, Free

Friday 24th August

Marymass Folk Festival at School!
With Festival Guests
Sponsored by Irvine Rotary Club
Haysholm School, John Galt and Stanecastle School: 11am – 12noon

The Friday Lunchtime Session
With Festival Guests
The Ship Inn, Harbourside: 12.30pm – 2pm, Free

Folk Music at Options for Independence
With Festival Guests
Sponsored byIrvineRotary Club
British Red Cross House: 2pm – 4pm

The Danny Kyle Tea-Time Session
With Festival Guests and Friends
The Ship Inn, Harbourside: 4.30pm – 6pm, Free

Concert: The Barbara Dymock Band+ Festival Guests
Vineburgh Community Centre, Quarry Road: 8pm -11pm, £15

The After Concert Singaround (Open to concert-goers only)
Vineburgh Community Centre: 11pm-ish until late, Free

Saturday 25th August

The Marymass Saturday Bash
With Festival Guests and Friends
Woodlands Centre,Kilwinning Road: 11am – 3pm, Adults £1 – Children/Seniors  50p

Marymass Saturday Night Concert
with The Outside Track + Festival Guests
Volunteer Rooms, High Street: 7.30pm – 12midnight, £15 – Seniors/Children £12

The After Concert Singaround (Open to concert-goers only)
Volunteer Rooms, High Street: 11.30pm-ish until late, Free

Sunday  26th August

The Marymass Survivors’ Session
With Festival Guests and Friends.
Includes the amazing World Whammy-Diddling Championship and the difficult-to-follow World Chuckie-Chucking Championship.
Woodlands Centre, Kilwinning Road: 2pm – 6pm, Free

MCs at the festival will be Dominic Boyce, Bill Nolan and Willie Sinclair.

B.Y.O.B. Please note, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights are BYOB.

Concert tickets – £15 (£5 Open Stage) are now available at Irvine Folk Club or by post from Joyce. Please send an SAE, with cheque payable to Marymass Folk Festival and send to 7 Machrie Place, Kilwinning KA13 6RW

Festival Saver ticket for Irvine Folk Club members,£40 for all evening concerts

Accomodation –enquiries to www.visitscotlandaccomodation.co.uk

All Marymass Folk Festival information – Phone Joyce 01294 551047

Darach de Brun – Drantan

Darach, piper with Drantan at Irvine Marymass
Darach, piper with Drantan at Irvine Marymass

It was with great sadness that news was received of the death of Darach de Brun of Irish band Drantan.  Darach died suddenly on Sunday 24th June inDublindoing what he loved – playing the uilleann pipes.

Darach had played at Marymass in the dim and distant past and because of the good memories he had, he wanted his band Drantan to experience Marymass. And so it was that in 2009 Drantan first played at Marymass Folk Festival. The quartet quickly became firm favourites withIrvineaudiences and have played at the annual festival since.

Whilst he made his living as a bookbinder, Darach was happiest playing his pipes and loved being part of a session or simply listening to new bands. Darach enjoyed playing in Irvine pubs, at concerts, schools – anywhere in fact as long as he could bring music to people of whatever age.

He was an outgoing man, interested in so many things and made friends easily.  The ‘Landladies and Landlords’ who housed Drantan when they were in Irvine always spoke warmly of Darach – he was an easy guest.

Darach is survived by his wife Val and their two sons. The sympathy of Marymass Folk Festival and Irvine Folk Club goes to Darach’s family and Drantan band members Liam Davis Snr, Gerry Byrne and Liam Davis Jnr.

NEWS: Lottery funded Marymass Folk Festival Fringe!

The new Marymass Folk Festival Fringe proved to be an excellent warm-up to the 44th Marymass Folk Festival with guests including John Carmichael & His Band; Dominic  Boyce  &  Ian; Haggerdash; Landermason; Lyra Celtica; Maw, Paw & The Wean; The Tattie Howkers Ceilidh Band; Thomas Turner and Michael Woods. The Folk Festival Fringe was made possible by an Awards For All grant and it means that folk musicians can be heard by people who otherwise might not have the opportunity.

“It’s terrific to get this Awards For All grant’ said Folk Festival Committee Chair Anne Clarke.” It means we can extend and develop the Festival, reduce the financial pressure and it lets us try out new ideas.  Straightened financial times means that to do new things without new money is just not possible.  The Awards For All grant gives us new money and we will use it to bring top quality folk music to Irvine that people can enjoy free of charge at our new Fringe.  We are delighted.”

In the early days of the Folk Festival, musicians playing in the street were commonplace. Rising transport costs and a move away from live music contributed to the demise of such outdoor sessions.   Experience here and elsewhere shows that there is a demand for live music and having it outdoors  helps make an overall feel-good factor in the community – particularly when the town is geared up for its annual Marymass Celebrations.

The funding also supported a Marymass Photography Project.  Essentially, it’s about asking anyone who has a camera to take photos at Marymass and these will then become a Marymass  Web Exhibition later in the year.  The web based exhibition will hopefully have some of the pics that will be seen in future years.

NEWS: Vintage Year for Marymass Festival

The general concensus is that 2011 was a Vintage Year for the Marymass Festival. Photos and a report will be added to the site over the coming weeks.  

Vin Garbutt, a late addition to Marymass, headlined the Friday evening concert in the Volunteer Rooms and live up to his reputation as one of the funniest people you will ever meet. The new Marymass Folk Festival Fringe proved to be an excellent warm-up to the 44th Marymass Folk Festival with guests including John Carmichael & His Band; Dominic  Boyce  &  Ian; Haggerdash; Landermason; Lyra Celtica; Maw, Paw & The Wean; The Tattie Howkers Ceilidh Band; Thomas Turner and Michael Woods. The Folk Festival Fringe was made possible by an Awards For All grant and it means that folk musicians can be heard by people who otherwise might not have the opportunity.

Marymass Through the Lens – is a project recording this year’s Marymass Celebrations in photographs leading to a web based exhibition.  Several photographers took part and the photographs will be made available over the coming weeks and months.  If you took photographs at Marymass but were not part of the official project, is it not too late to get involved.  Your photographs can be selected for the exhibition and we can start planning early for next year’s festival.

To get involved with Marymass Through the Lens, phone Joyce of Marymass Folk Festival on 01294 551047 or email her at JoyceIFC@aol.com. As with the Folk Festival Fringe, Marymass Through the Lens has been made possible with support of an Awards for All grant.