It’s been 25 years since the first festival in mid-summer 1998 in our beautiful mountain valley. To mark this very special milestone, we have created lots of exciting new things for Knockengorroch Festival 2023 – our biggest year yet!
- OCEANALLOVER: TO THE ADDER
This year sees Knockengorroch working with Oceanallover for the first time with a commission highlighting the beauty and mystery of the adder, a species whose numbers are rapidly and alarmingly declining. Oceanallover is the creative project of Galloway artist Alex Rigg, who creates compelling otherworldly dance and performance art displays, accompanied by live brass, dub music and MCs. Oceanallover will perform their site piece on Saturday afternoon in the main arena and a stage show in the Shieling Tent on Sunday evening.
- NEW SPACE: THE DISCEE CENTRE
What better way to commemorate our 25th year than with a brand new centre for food, art and learning! The Discee Centre will equate sustainable, local food production with music, art and talks. An intimate food growing exhibition and talks area during the festival, the polytunnel will also be a year round space working with local communities, volunteers and visitors to grow food and host educational talks and workshops. Join us on Saturday afternoon for an opening ceremony, which will include the planting of 25 silver birch trees to commemorate our significant 25th SILVER themed milestone!
- GREEN WELL OF SCOTLAND EXHIBITION
A Knockengorroch project from 2021, this outdoor photographic exhibition will be in situ in and around the Discee Centre. It features the villagers of Carsphairn parish, captured by award winning photographer Alicia Bruce at the mysterious Green Well of Scotland, just up the river from Knockengorroch. To find out more, be sure to catch Dr Peter Hewitt talk about the well on Saturday at the Discee Centre.
- THE REAL MERLIN PROJECT
Knockengorroch’s new music commission about a very famous character whose origins are rooted in the history of Southern Scotland. Few know that the archetypal ‘wild man’ character of Myrddin (Welsh), later known more familiarly as Merlin, was synonymous with the Scottish wild man Lailoken. This cross border, multi-lingual, collaborative project delves into myth and its poetry to inspire new work, which will be performed alongside a local choir in a Knockengorroch special on Sunday afternoon. Featuring Gwyneth Glyn, Tym Morys, Lorcan, Maeve Mackinnon, Andy May, Dave Tunstall and the Merlin choir, comprised of local singers! Don’t miss the talk on Merlin in the Langwhan on Sunday.
- AN DANNSA DUB ENHANCED PERFORMANCE
Trad/dub ensemble An Dannsa Dub, led by Galloway artist Tom Spirals and traditional fiddler Ewan McLaughlin present an enhanced performance featuring special guests and performing their Knockengorroch song ‘The Sheiling’. Tom is one of those Knockengorroch children, who have grown as we have, and we are delighted to welcome him back with his highly successful project, at Knockengorroch only, featuring Flew the Arrow, Megan Mcdonald and Gaelic singer Lana Phuetan.
- MUNGO’S HI FI SPECIAL SUNDAY TAKEOVER
Mungo’s have been with us since near the beginning and we are delighted to give over Sunday in the Shieling to their expert craft, honed over years of writing, producing and performing across the world. They’ve never lost sight of their roots and we are over the moon to be welcoming their biggest Knockengorroch show yet, featuring two of their favourite Knockengorroch allies MCs Solo Banton and Marina P as well as first timer, up and comer Aziza Jaye, to perform together, in what will be a night to remember!
- ENGAGING WITH GÀIDHLIG (SCOTTISH GAELIC)
We are committed to spreading awareness of and opportunities to experience the Gaelic language, in recognition of its centrality to Scotland’s unique cultural heritage and diversity – and because we love multi-lingualism! Gaelic activities this year include children’s ‘Leugh is Seinn’ (Read & Sing) sessions with BBC Alba presenter Linda Macleod and Gaelic singing workshops for adults with musician Ewan Macintyre. No previous Gaelic skills required so get stuck in!
- KELTON THE ONE TONNE WICKER COW
In partnership with Galloway Glens, Kelton the One-Tonne Wicker Beltie cow, made by local artist Trevor Leat will also be attending the festival. You won’t miss him…
- SPECIAL TALKS AND WORKSHOPS
An extended programme of talks and workshops from artists, environmental and heritage experts including:
– Akram Abdulfattah in conversation with Syrian writer and columnist Robin Yassin-Kasab in the Langwhan.
– Dr Peter Hewitt, author and D&G Museums Officer: ‘The Green Well of Scotland’.
– Twm Morys: ‘On Merlin’ In the Langwhan on Sunday.
– the Southern Upland Way
– Galloway UNESCO Dark Skies park
With thanks to Creative Scotland, PRSF Beyond Borders, Culture Ireland, D&G Community Vision Fund, Regional Arts Fund and Major Events Strategy Fund.
Photo: Lesley Martin