Kelso hosted its second folk festival on the weekend of the 31st August to 2nd of September 2018.

This was a weekend of live concerts, sessions, workshops and open mics featuring award wining bands and artists as well as a showcase for local talent (see below). A festival is now in planning for the same time in 2019. For latest information visit the website www.kelsofolkfest.org.

Friday 31st August: Opening concert

Maire Ni Chathasaigh & Chris Newman – dazzling Irish harp and guitar duo

An internationally celebrated virtuoso partnership of the folk world. Maire Ni is “the doyenne of Irish harpers” (Scotland on Sunday), a past winner of the All-Ireland and Pan-Celtic Harp competitions and has received Irish muusic’s most prestigious award – Traditional Musician of the Year. Chris is “one of the UKs most staggering and influential acoustic guitarist” (Folkroots Magazine), a maestro of the flat-pick style, who has taught generations of young folk guitarists at Newcastle University. Together they weave a mesmerizing blend of traditional music and song, bluegrass, baroque and even some gypsy jazz. Expect dazzling virtuosity and exuberance from this pair.

visit their website maireandchris.com


Talisk – Scottish traditional music at its best

This trio are taking the UK folk scene by storm, having just won the 2017 Scots Trad Music ‘Folk Band of the Year’ award. The trio comprises Mohsen Amini (concertina), Hayley Keenan (fiddle) and Graeme Armstrong (guitar), each phenomenal players in their own right (Mohsen was 2016 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the year). Simon Mayo (BBC Radio 2) described them as “setting scary standards” in traditional music and it is hard to disagree with him!

visit their website Talisk



Saturday 1st September: Afternoon Concert of Irish Dance.

Absolutely Legless are an Edinburgh-based troupe of dancers who perform original dances in the Irish soft shoe and hard shoe traditions. Accompanied by the driving rhythms of traditional and original airs, jigs and reels played by their very own band of flutes, fiddles and guitar, the troupe put on an entertaining, energy-packed show. Whether it is the fast moving steps, the lilting lyrics or the foot tspping music – there is something for everyone in thier show.

visit their website Absolutely Legless

Saturday 1st September: Evening Concert.

Steve Hicks & Lynn Goulbourn 

Steve Hicks & Lynn Goulbourn are an English duo that combines the soulful vocals of Lynn with the blistering finger-picking of Steve, himself a fine singer. Their repertoire is truly ecclectic, with anything from traditional and original folk-inspired songs, American standards, blues, ragtime, and even Led Zepplinesque/baroque cross-over instrumentals.Expect the unexpected!

visit their website Steve Hicks & Lynn Goulbourn



The Shee – six piece all woman band

The Shee bring electro-harp, acordion, fiddles, flute, mandolin and three powerful voices together with a range of musical influences to produce an adventurous brew of Folk, Gaelic and American music. The band have been nominated as best live act at the Scots Trad Awards and includes BBC Radio Folk Award Musician of the Year Rachel Newton among its ranks, along with Borders-born Sheila Mooney and Lillias Kinsman-Blake. They have four albums to their name. Expect thoughtful and sensitive songs, upbeat driving tunes, exquisite musicianship and intuitive interplay gained from their 10-year collaboration.

Visit their site at The Shee


Workshops (Saturday, 1st September)

  • Acappella singing – Claire Watson
  • Beginer’s fiddle workshops – Shona Mooney
  • Intermediate fiddle workshop – Shona Mooney
  • CGCGCD guitar workshop – Jenny Biddle
  • Irish stepdance – Diane Newman


Best of Borders showcase (Saturday lunchtime, 1st September)

free concert featuring an array of solo artists, duos and small bands from around the Borders


Students from the Scottish Conservatoire of Music showcase (Sunday 2nd September 1- 2 pm)

free lunchtime concert featuring some of the talented next generation of folk musicians and singers currently studying on the SCM’s traditional music degree.



Open mic at the Cobbles (Friday-Saturday nights after the concerts)

Jigs and reels session (Saturday afternoon)

Singaround at the Queens Head Hotel (Saturday afternoon)

Farewell session/singaround at the Cross Keys (Sunday afternoon)


Comments are closed.


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

Lost your password?