Festival Fest!

It’s an action packed festival weekend for team VJP Media. 

Combining music, literature and performance this year’s Solas Festival in Tibbermore, Perthshire could be the best yet. Dubbed ‘Scotland’s best kept secret’, s identity and place in the wider world ahead of the September referendum. 

An all-star line up includes Liz Lochhead, King Creosote, Josie Long, Robin Ince, James Robertson and Shelagh McDonald. And with music, a mini film festival, comedians, circus performers, writers, talks, debates, theatre and dance all on display there really should be something for everybody.

This year St Magnus International Festival celebrates connections with Norway and Italy and the 80th birthday of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies as well as Scotland’s Year of Homecoming. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, the Trondheim Soloists, Sergei Leiferkus, Nicholas Daniel, Joan Rodgers, the Fidelio Trio, Astrid String Quartet and Hugo Ticciati all take to the stage across the week long festival. 

Culture and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop was in Kirkwall to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution at a concert headlined by some of Norway’s most acclaimed classical musicians – the five-time Grammy Award-nominated Trondheim Soloists.

Solas Festival programme elebrating culture from around the Commonwealth and beyond

Celebrating culture from around the Commonwealth and beyond

Solas Festival returns to the beautiful site of The Bield at Blackruthven, Tibbermore in rural Perthshire. Now in its fifth year, Solas Festival, from 20-22 June, is an all-age weekend arts festival featuring performances and workshops in music, theatre, dance, literature and visual arts, as well as a programme of talks and debates.

This year’s theme of  ‘Creative Commons’ celebrates the best of culture from around the Commonwealth and beyond, and considers Scotland’s identity and place in this wider world ahead of the September referendum.

The festival programme is designed to entertain, inspire and challenge, providing opportunities for artists and audiences to come together and collaborate. King Creosote, Liz Lochhead, Rachel Sermani, Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate, Alasdair Gray, and RM Hubbert are set to join previously announced Stanley Odd, Robin Ince, Josie Long and Beerjacket.  

Dot Reid, Solas Festival Vice-Chair and Head of Programme, said: “In the context of a great artistic programme and with the help of Scottish artists, writers and thinkers, Solas Festival addresses some of the big issues facing Scotland: the upcoming referendum and Scotland’s future whatever the outcome of the vote, sectarianism, community action and much more. Prepare to be entertained, challenged and amused all in one field in Perthshire”

Literary big hitters Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead and James Robertson will all be reading from their own work; Alasdair recites from his autobiography and discusses Kevin Cameron’s film ‘Life in Progress’, James reads from a selection of 365 word stories that he has written every day this year. Liz Lochhead returns to expand on her Solas Festival 2013 prediction that Scotland will need its artists even more after September’s referendum, regardless of the outcome. She will also read from her own work.

Scottish Hip-Hop is gaining mainstream credibility and Stanley Odd and Hector Bizerk lead the pack on the east and west coasts respectively. They’ll be playing sets and running a rap workshop for younger festival goers.

Comedian, presenter, writer, grassroots political activist and cartoonist Josie Long joins writer, actor, comedian and, some would say, uber-geek, Robin Ince on the comedy stage. More accustomed to a BBC studio than the Perthshire countryside, they’ll undoubtedly add political satire and hilarity to the bustling line-up.

As the country considers its future, Solas Festival has one of the best line-ups in Scotland to help you reflect on the referendum; Liz Lochhead, Alasdair Gray, James Robertson, Lesley Riddoch, Gerry Hassan, Tom Devine, King Creosote, Stanley Odd, Mogwai’s Stuart

Braithwaite and Hector Bizerk will all join the debate across the weekend, with the focus on how our artists can help to heal the divides in Scotland after the votes are counted.

Astounding duo, Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate, were thrown together in 2010 by Marseille’s Nuit Metis (Mixed Night) Festival despite having no spoken language in common, but quickly found shared expression in their music. Known as the ‘Hendrix of the kora’, Kouyate brings powerful West African influences to play with Driscoll’s unique fusion of folk and hip-hop, creating a captivating sound that can speak to music-lovers the world over, and perfect for the cross-cultural and collaborative programme at Solas Festival.

Artists RM Hubbert and Shelagh McDonald not only bring their considerable talents to Solas Festival, they are also willing to talk about how their mental health difficulties have affected their creative output.

Findlay Napier hosts the Scottish Roots Baton Relay, Solas Festival’s prelude to the Commonwealth Games, as artists and performers pass the baton in a fast-moving and unique collaboration of song and dance.

Refugee football team United Glasgow are running 5 –side-football sessions, and some of the best performers in Scotland take to the stage in a late-night, informal festival review session in the barn.  

Other artists set to perform this year include Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5, Jo Mango, Call to Mind, Randolph’s Leap, Hector Bizerk, The John Langan Band and James Robertson.  

Frankie Campbell, Solas Festival Coordinator said: “We’re really proud of the line-up for our fifth festival. It’s eclectic, international and superb quality, distilling the best of music, arts and thought-provoking debate from throughout Scotland and beyond, into one charmingly packed weekend. We’ll be showcasing some more of the local talent this year, as well as bringing artists of national and international reputation to the delightfully unlikely location of a barn in Tibbermore.”

Solas Festival invites festival-goers to step out of the daily grind for a stolen weekend to engage with the richness of Scottish creativity and culture.  This unique arts festival offers a diverse programme, family friendly atmosphere, camping, delicious local food, crafted beers and a petting zoo!

Bringing big ideas to little tents, you’ll get more than you bargained for at this pint-sized

Solas Festival Dates: 20 – 22 June 2014

Weekend tickets available online at and include camping, caravanning and motor homes, car parking and entry to all events. Children (0-11years) come free, but you must still book a ticket. Adult Weekend £93.94 / Youth Weekend £34.43 ages 12-17 / Kids Weekend Free ages 0 -11 / Adult Concession Weekend £68.07 

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Solas Festival 20-22 June

The Solas Festival programme is a beautiful work in progress developed over many months. We put together an entertaining and varied line-up which touches on arts, faith and justice, and we’re delighted to be welcoming some new guests to the festival next year along with some well-loved favourites.

Confirmed so far this year are comedy legends Josie Long and Robin Ince; hip-hop giants Stanley Odd; social and political historian TM Devine; novelist James Robertson; journalist and presenter Lesley Riddoch and Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber.

For programme and ticket information please visit: