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VIDEO: Scots singing star launches virtual festival

By Chris Saunderson

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Olivier award-winning actress and Traditional Music & Song Association (TMSA) Patron, Barbara Dickson, has launched the Keith TMSA Virtual Festival 2021.

Barbara Dickson has launched the festival online.
Barbara Dickson has launched the festival online.

In a video on the festival's Facebook page, the chart-topping singer, who had hits with “I Know Him So Well” and “January February”, said that this year there would be concerts, a virtual dance, sessions and sing-a-rounds as well as a suite of virtual competitions for the first time.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic the Keith TMSA Festival has taken the difficult decision to cancel its in-person festival for only the second time since 1976.

However, as the saying goes "the must go on" and on it will go! The festival will, once again, be going virtual building on the success of the 2020 virtual festival.

The Keith TMSA Virtual Festival 2021 will take place over the weekend of Friday-Sunday, June 11-13 on Facebook and YouTube.

Barbara Dickson has urged people to support the festival.
Barbara Dickson has urged people to support the festival.

Amongst some of the guest artists appearing over the course of the weekend include 7-time bothy ballad champion of champions Joe Aitken, BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalists Iona Fyfe, Calum McIlroy and Ellie Beaton, champion accordionist Leonard Brown and singing duo Jim and Susie Malcolm with more still to be confirmed.

For the virtual dance there will be 14 Scottish dance band leaders from Shetland to Northumberland, and all points in between, providing a programme of old time dances that folk can join in with at home.

There is also an array of competitions being held with the deadline for entries being 9pm on Sunday, May 16.

The entries will be released on the festival's YouTube channel on the Saturday morning with the results being revealed at a virtual Prize-winners Concert in the evening.

Festival chairwoman, Kathleen Anderson, said: "We are so disappointed that once again we've had to cancel our in-person festival. However, we are determined that the show will go on so we are trying to build on last year's successful virtual festival and provide audiences with even more opportunities to enjoy the very best of traditional music, song, dance and verse.

"As usual we have managed to attract a fantastic line up of guest artists to perform with more yet to be confirmed and we are particularly delighted that we are able to run some of the competitions this year. We are looking forward to being overrun with entries!

"There really will be something for everyone and we can't wait to share the festival with everybody."

More information can be found at www.keithfestival.com with the festival being broadcast on facebook.com/keithfestival and youtube.com/c/KeithTMSAFestival

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