NEWS

16 May The Outside track

Don’t miss this night with a wonderful group currently on tour.  This is a rare folk club date. A stunning synthesis of virtuosity and energy, The Outside Track’s marriage of Canadian, Scottish and Irish music and song has been rapturously received around the world. Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton and Vancouver, its five members are united by a love of traditional music and a commitment to creating new music on its foundation. Using fiddle, accordion, harp, guitar, flute, step-dance and vocals these five virtuosos blend boundless energy with unmistakable joie de vivre. Each player within The Outside Track is a master of their chosen instrument with the band stacking up an impressive amount of international awards. This amount of talent alone would be enough to recommend the band but in this case the end result is so much greater than the sum of the parts. The line up comprises Norah Rendell (Canadian Traditional Singer of the Year nominee), Mairi Rankin (Beolach), Ailie Robertson (Live Ireland Winner, BBC Young Trad Finalist), Fiona Black (BBC Fame Academy Winner) and Cillian O’Dalaigh. Members: Ailie Robertson (harp, Scotland), Cillian O’Dalaigh (guitar, Ireland), Fiona Black (piano accordion, Scotland), Norah Rendell (lead vocals, flute, Canada), Mairi Rankin (fiddle, vocals, Canada).

Sad farewell to Billy Muir

We are saddened to report the passing of Irvine Folk Club member Billy Muir after a brave battle with cancer.  His funeral will take place at 2pm on Thursday 19th April, 2012 at Holmsford Bridge, Dreghorn.  After that everybody is welcome to gather for refreshments at Vineborough Community Centre, Irvine.  Our thoughts are especially with Joan at this time.  Billy will be missed.

Johnny Silvo dies

Photo of Johnny Silvo
Johnny Silvo at Marymass

It is very sad to report the death of Johnny Silvo – arguably the best all-round folk entertainer ever to appear in Irvine.  Johnny died peacefully at his home in Norwayon Sunday 18th December.  He is survived by his wife Berit and son Patrick.

Johnny first appeared at Marymass Folk Festival in 1974 and since then has built up a strong and loyal fan base and a wide circle of friends who sang with him, had a dram with him, golfed with him. He was an extremely affable and popular man. Johnny has sung and played in numerous Irvine Pubs – including of course the former Eglinton Arms,  played at umpteen Marymass Folk Festivals as well as Schools, Rotary events, Senior Citizens concerts, Care Homes…the list goes on.

It is hard to think of anyone with a voice to match his superb tone, clarity and volume.  Added to which, Johnny was an exceptionally fine guitarist.

After completing National Service, Johnny Woods changed his name to Johnny Silvo and played with Jazz, Skiffle and Blues bands, did a stint at presenting PlaySchool on TV before commencing a solo career.  It was when he was with London’s Ann Dex Agency that he first came to the attention of Irvine Folk Club.

It hardly seems possible that Johnny could have been topping the bill at this year’s Marymass Folk Festival’s Saturday Night Concert in the Volunteer Rooms singing favourites like Blueberry Hill, I wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate, I’ll fly away.  He was in excellent form and there were many who remarked that, like  good wine, Johnny was improving with age. Then came the awful news that Johnny had cancer and had only a few months left.

Johnny’s zest for life sticks in the mind. He leaves a huge gap and will be much missed.

Anne Clarke

First Club night of 2012

NEW YEAR 2012 – Irvine Folk Club re-opened for 2012 on Wednesday 11th January with Arthur Johnstone & The Stars Band

PHOTO of Arthur Johnstone and the Stars Band
Arthur Johnstone and the Stars Band

We had a great start to 2012 with a guest appearance from Arthur Johnstone & The Stars Band. Arthur’s links with Irvine date back to the early ‘70s when he was with The Laggan. Since then, whether as a member of a band or as a soloist, Arthur has remained deservedly popular. As anticipated it turned out to be a very special evening with Arthur with Brian Miller and Charlie Soane – the Stars Band.  Excellent.

CLUB PROJECTS: Marymass through the Lens

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.


The aim is to document all aspects of Marymass, including the town festival and the folk festival.  The intention is to display photographs in an Exhibition later in the year.  This is likely to be a web based exhibition but we hope that some of the photographs will be selected for display in the town and will be seen in future years as we build a festival photo archive.

Whilst the age range is 18+, younger people with a genuine enthusiasm will be considered – but no unaccompanied children.  To register interest for Marymass through the lens, phone Joyce of Marymass Folk Festival on 01294 551047 or email her at JoyceIFC@aol.com.

The first meeting to fully explain Marymass through the lens takes place on Tuesday 16thAugust in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road.  There are two sessions to choose from:  11am to 1pm or 7pm  to 9pm.  After this introductory meeting, there will be workshops every day which will last about an hour and support and tuition from experienced photographers will be on hand throughout.

As with the Folk Festival Fringe, Marymass through the Lens has been made possible with support of an Awards for All grant.

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.

Marymass Folk Festival 2011 – A Great Success

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.

To see what you missed, have a look at the programme – but start looking forward for the 45th Marymass in 2012!!

Nineteen scheduled events made up the 2011 Marymass Folk Festival. The Folk Festival Committee arranged a strong and varied line-up.  The Buskers from Dublin made their annual pilgrimage  to Marymass as did Johnny Silvo.  Johnny along with Stephen Quigg, Heather Heywood and Arthur Johnstone were all on stage for the Singers’ Concert on the Thursday night.

Vin Garbutt topped the bill on Friday night along with the residents. The Marymass Saturday Night concert featured all the resident artists who were all over Irvine throughout the Festival.  Taking part was the aforementioned Buskers and Johnny Silvo, the four-piece Drantan who are now firm Marymass favourites, Perthshire native Doris Rougvie, Lurach – an exciting four-piece acoustic band, Stephen Leeson – a young man from Dublin with a fine voice and easy style….and The Past Masters – a flexible line-up of some of the more ‘mature’ performers on the folk scene!

The 44th Marymass Folk Festival – 17th – 21st  August 2011

WEDNESDAY 17th August:  The Welcome Folk Coffee Afternoon Mure Church Hall, West Road,  1pm-3pm    £1.50. Formal Opening of the 44th Marymass Folk Festival The Marymass Queen Elect will open the Festival followed by The Open Stage Competition.

THURSDAY 18th August: The Thursday Lunchtime Session with Festival Guests. Concert for Senior Citizens Sponsored by Irvine Rotary Club, with Festival Guests. Singers’ Concert, with Johnny Silvo, Heather Heywood, Arthur Johnston & Stephen Quigg plus Festival Guests.The After Concert Singaround.

FRIDAY 18th August: Marymass Folk Festival at School with Festival Guests, Sponsored by Irvine Rotary Club. The Friday Lunchtime Session – With Festival Guests. Bridgegate Folk – Dranntan. Folk Music at Options for Independence, with Festival Guests, Sponsored by Irvine Rotary Club. The Danny Kyle Tea-Time Session with Festival Guests and Friends. FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERT: Vin Garbutt plus Festival Guests. The After Concert Singaround. 

SATURDAY 20th August: The Marymass Saturday Bash – with Festival Guests and Friends. MARYMASS SATURDAY NIGHT CONCERT with Johnny Silvo, The Buskers, Drantan, Lurach, Stephen Leeson. Doris Rougvie, The Past Masters & The Open Stage Winner. The After Concert Singaround (Open to concert-goers only)

SUNDAY 21st August: The Marymass Survivors’ Session with Festival Guests and Friends.  Includes the amazing World Whammy-Diddling Championship and the mind-boggling World Chuckie-Chucking Championship.