Kelso Folk & Live Festival 2023

September 1st to 3rd 2023

The Kelso Folk and Live Music Club is pleased to announce the line-up for this year’s folk festival. As in past years, this will be a weekend of live concerts featuring award-wining bands and artists, combined with sessions, workshops and open mics offering a showcase for local talent. This year there are three great ticketed concerts to catch. On the Friday night we kick off in spectacular style with harpist Catriona McKay and fiddle player Chris Stout (photo above) who perform traditional Scottish music in their own unique way. With them on the same bill is Iona Fyfe, a past “MG Alba Scots singer of the year” winner who performs both folk and pop songs in the Scots language. She is supported by her three piece band. On the Saturday night we are delighted to have the celebrated English songsmith and guitarist Martin Simpson. Also appearing that night are Malin Makes Music, a four piece band featuring piper Malin Lewis, a BBC Alba Young folk musician of the year finalist last year. Finally our Sunday lunchtime concert features the wonderful Ainsley Hamill and her trio performing English and Scot’s Gaelic songs.

In addition we will have a Borders showcase concert on the Saturday lunchtime featuring Riddell Fiddles, and outdoor events include a dance display from Ragbag Morris. There will also be opportunity to participate in our sessions, singarounds and open mics, whether you are a singer or musician or simply wish to listen to some great live music. All are welcome to join in, and you are sure to find like-minded musicians/singers. For those wanting to improve their skills and gain inspiration, there will be various music workshops on the Saturday morning. All this is going on in the beautiful Borders town of Kelso, a great tourist destination!

Programme at a glance (see concerts for more details)

Friday 1st September

Saturday 2nd September

  • Morning workshops.
  • Best of the Borders free concert at the Old Parish Church, Kelso, 12.00-2.00 pm.
  • Outdoor events in the Town Square, featuring Ragbag Morris. 2.00-4.00 pm.
  • Afternoon open sessions at The Cross Keys and Rutherfords, 2-5 pm.
  • Concert: Old Parish Church, Kelso, 7.30-10.30 pm. Martin Simpson and Malin Makes Music.

Sunday 3rd September

  • Traditional tunes session at The Cross Keys, Kelso, 11.00-12.30 pm.
  • Lunchtime Concert at the Old Parish Church, Kelso, 1.00-2.30 pm. Ainsley Hamill
  • Farewell singaround sessions at the Cross Keys, 3.00-4.30 pm.
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Tony McManus and Julia Toaspern video

In concert for the folk club, May 27th 2022, playing ‘three jigs’.

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Kelso Folk Festival 2021 – a great success

Despite Covid and worries that concerts and sessions might provide difficult to stage or even be cancelled at the last minute, the Tait Hall enjoyed about as close to a full house as social distancing permitted during the weekend from September 3rd-5th. The good news is that weather won’t be an issue from September 10th when the weekly Oak Room singaround returns at 8pm.

North Sea Gas at the Tait Hall

After a year’s absence the usual 1st weekend in September welcomed us with weather just fine and warm enough to allow outdoor sessions at Rutherford’s micro pub in the square and the cricket pavilion in Shedden Park. In the Tait Hall, there were two double bill evening concerts – on Friday night, the Siobhan Miller Band and Maggie MacInnes joined by Anna Massie; on Saturday, Martin and Eliza Carthy and Luke Daniels and The Cobhers. There were two lunchtime concerts, with North Sea Gas on Saturday and Absolutely Legless Irish dance on Sunday. The festival closed with an indoor concert at the Cross Keys offering an open stage to club members. Photographs: David Kilpatrick.

Our thanks to everyone who attended, all the session players and especially the club stalwart Ron Hastings who anchored sessions in a musical marathon.

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Rowchester (Greenlaw) mini festival Sat August 21

Calling all Kelso Folk Club members and friends!

Next Saturday 21st August there is a free music festival at Rowchester near Greenlaw …take the Kelso Stichill Road and follow the R signs. It would be great to get there for our Kelso acts on from 12 – music line-up…. Kelso Folk Group (Allan, Pete, Ron, David, Steve Dent and Andrew Hunter followed by Natalie Bays with David Kilpatrick, then Andrew and BB. Other acts include Lilla & Scott Krueger, Rebecca Williams, Evan Anderson, Banned for Life!, Drenched, The Retrophones and finally Fire in the Middle. No ticket just donation for charity. First live outing and a great platform for Kelso Folk Club. Please support if you can and keep music live.

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Club CD ready now!

The club’s second CD – Cobbled Together Volume 2, the first CD had that title back in 2008 – is called Across the Cobbles to mark our recent double value Friday nights. First the Cross Keys Oak Room singaround and then a short walk over the paviours and setts (no cobbles now really!) to The Cobbles Inn for the open late night session.

You can buy the CD for £7.95 collected (Hastings Legal Property Shop at the foot of Roxburgh Street has copies now – discounts, £13 for 2, £18 for 3, £5 each for additional) or for £10 sent by post including p&p (discounts – 2 CDs, £15; 3 CDs, £20; additional £5 each). Club member David Kilpatrick can accept Paypal payment to via the Paypal Menu below.


If you want to pay by bank transfer, or need more than three copies sending to a single address, please email with your request.

The CD is a glass-mastered commercial quality release with 21 tracks adding up to 1 hour 20 minutes of great variety from our expanded circle of club members and friends. It’s an ideal Christmas gift as it’s easy to post to anywhere in the world, and the same size as many cards. The tracks range from Scottish traditional (with a contemporary twist) to blues, original songwriting, folk, country and a hint of rock and pop but all with the solo or collaborative small-venue intimacy the club is known for.

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Cross Keys traditional

Here’s a video from October 2017 catching the informal traditional session in the Cross Keys main bar on a Thursday evening, with Andrew Smith – who organises the new annual Kelso Folk & Live Music Festival – playing the hammered dulcimer

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Club posts

Old articles and photographs from this site have, regrettably, been deleted during updates in 2018. Many reports and photo-sets can still be found by visiting the Wayback Machine archive at this URL, which shows most of the content as it was in September 2016. This is not active web content and may be lost. Our thanks to all those who contributed albums of photographs, commentary and content – the door is open for future contributions.

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