Mull of Kintyre to Major Tom

Slainte Davaar Allstars recorded their set on the former top-secret RAF base runway at Machrihanish.

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Campbeltown super-group Slainte Davaar Allstars are hoping their take on a classic David Bowie song will be heard by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).

Mull of Kintyre music festival (MOK Fest) is aiming to make history this weekend by beaming the unique Scottish rendition of Space Oddity to the station which sits in low earth orbit.

The annual music festival has teamed up with Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC), currently in the running to become the UK’s first spaceport, to record the unique set.

With the annual music festival moving online this year, organisers, keen to try something new and showcase the traditional and contemporary artists to a new virtual audience, came up with the idea of partnering with the base and its unconventional location for the exclusive gig.

As the MACC base continues to develop its plans for spaceflight related activities, the set was performed on the former top-secret RAF base runway – nearly two miles long and one of the longest in Europe – for current Commander of the ISS Chris Cassidy and Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, as they orbit the earth at 17,000mph and pass the Mull of Kintyre.

The performance will be transmitted at 7pm tomorrow (Saturday August 15) through the MOK Fest Facebook page.

Event manager Iain Johnston of JIG Events said: ‘Mull of Kintyre Music Festival has encouraged people to visit Kintyre from all parts of the globe since its inception 28 years ago and we were naturally disappointed, like every other event organiser up and down the country, to have to cancel this year.

‘However, what better way to turn it into a positive than to take our music interstellar!

‘If successful, the spaceport will put the area on the global map and we hope the ISS astronauts enjoy their Scottish welcome just as much as we enjoyed making it. As far as stage backdrops go, I don’t think you’ll find anything more impressive than this.’

Plans for the Virtual MOK Fest, from August 19 to August 23, are firmed up and promise five nights of music including new recordings and footage from the past three years.

The virtual event’s first broadcast will be the Virtual Beinn an Tuic Gaelic Concert on Wednesday August 19, featuring a newly-recorded set by Catherine Tinney especially for the event.

Many of the Gaelic Night favourites from the past four years have recorded new songs for the concerts which will also feature footage from past events normally held at Ceol Campbeltown.

The Virtual Young Folk night on Thursday August 20 will be a great mix of new recorded and past footage of some of the best young musicians from Kintyre. Both these concerts will be broadcast on the MOK Fest Facebook page from 7.30pm.

Friday night, August 21 at 8pm is Ceilidh Night. The MOK Fest Virtual Kilkerran Ceilidh gets under way from 8pm with a performance from Ceolta from Northern Ireland and great sets and footage from Kintyre Schools Pipe Band, Ross Conner, Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band and Grouse Ceilidh Band.

On Saturday August 22 at 8pm it’s the MOK Fest Virtual Glen Scotia West Coast Rocks Concert with specially recorded sets from The Wee Toon Tellers, Claire Hastings and Rhuvaal at Davaar Island Lighthouse.

The Virtual Survivors Night on Sunday August 23 at 8pm has more than 10 specially recorded sets from Slainte Davaar Allstars, FLING, Twisted Melons, Iain McIntyre, None the Wiser, Adam Fortune, FLW, Charles Martin and Hope Strang.

This year’s festival is part of a new marketing campaign to raise awareness of the Kintyre 66 route which showcases the stunning peninsula. Due to launch in January 2021, the circular route will take in 66 miles on the A83 and B834 including Southend, Machrihanish, Campbeltown, East Kintyre, West Kintyre, Gigha and Tarbert.