Gigha’s piping hot traditional music festival

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Words and pictures Hannah O’Hanlon

Music lovers from across the world danced and partied together at the Isle of Gigha Music Festival.

As well as a newlywed couple from London and their family from Australia, party-goers travelled from far and wide for Saturday’s event.

There were at least three visiting boats from Islay and four from Jura.

Ileachs Ashley Harrison and Lyn MacIntyre, who said the sea was ‘like glass’ for the crossing, spotted porpoises and a whale en route.

They camped on Gigha, and while ‘the boys stayed at the pub’, the girls ventured through the dark to the village hall for the festival.

The evening opened with sets by two duos, Laura-Beth Salter and Jenn Butterworth, and Ali Hutton and Ross Ainslie, before the chairs were cleared to make way for dancers as ceilidh band Deoch ‘n’ Dorus took to the stage.

The event was truly inclusive with bands amalgamating and members switching places, creating authentic and heart-felt performances which it was a pleasure to witness.

At one point, the ensemble on stage had a representative from each of the groups, with other members swapping the stage for the dance floor.

Chilli was served, although ice-cream may have been more fitting – the soaring temperature combined with the body heat of the numerous revellers made for tropical conditions in the hall.

Dancers vacated the room at the end of each tune, for the slightly cooler air outside, until the midges drove them back in for another dance.

On Friday evening, the Gigha Gallery hosted a free, bring your own bottle and instrument jamming session event, and on Saturday afternoon, Loch Fyne Pipe Band performed in blistering sunshine outside Gigha Hotel.

Festival organisers, who thanked this year’s main sponsors, Creative Scotland, SJ Noble Trust, CalMac and Ardminish Stores, said: ‘Let’s hope for just as much sunshine next year.’

For more on the newlyweds, see page three.

Laura-Beth Salter and Jenn Butterworth played the first set. 50_c27gighamusicfestival01

Ali Hutton and Ross Ainslie were joined on stage by Jenn Butterworth. 50_c27gighamusicfestival02

Suzie Milloy, Daniel Lennon and Hazel Jeffrey travelled from Glasgow. 50_c27gighamusicfestival03

Ruby Davidson, Anna Brands and Rachel Howie, from Peebles, enjoyed the evening. 50_c27gighamusicfestival05

Caitlin Taylor partied with Gigha boy Bryce Harvey. 50_c27gighamusicfestival07

Lithuanians, Emilija Kovadlaitė and Monika Balčiūnaitė, danced the night away. 50_c27gighamusicfestival08

Annabelle Barr from Dumfries and Galloway and Gigha girl Caitie Wilkinson, are both working in the Boathouse restaurant over the summer. 50_c27gighamusicfestival09

Ashley Harrison and Lyn MacIntyre island-hopped from Islay to Gigha. 50_c27gighamusicfestival10

Deoch ‘n’ Dorus performed a rousing ceilidh set. 50_c27gighamusicfestival11

Some of the best dressed revellers in action. 50_c27gighamusicfestival12

Before things got wild in the iconic Gigha-style Orcadian Strip The Willow. 50_c27gighamusicfestival13

Jenn Butterworth, Ali Sutton and Stuart Cameron of Deoch ‘n’ Dorus formed a super-ensemble. 50_c27gighamusicfestival14