THE SEVENTH Angus Accordion and Fiddle Festival held last weekend got off to a great start, with concerts in the Meadowbank and the Royal British Legion Scotland clubrooms in Helen Street.
Both venues were filled to capacity and patrons were entertained by the Neil Hardie Scottish Dance Band from the Borders; George Rennie's Scottish Dance Band from Kirriemuir; comedian/singer/songwriter Ecky Hodgson from Prestonpans; from Perth, Wayne Robertson on accordion and Claire Telford on fiddle; mouthorgan player Bryce Johnstone from Fife; Steven Carcary's Young Accordionists; Craig Paton from Milnathort and Liam Stewart from Galston; locals Steven Carcary and Malcolm Ross; and the Tom Orr Scottish Dance Band from Lanark.
The dances which followed the concerts were greatly enjoyed and dancers at the British Legion were treated to a great night by the Graeme Mitchell Scottish Dance Band.
At the Meadowbank, the music was provided by the Liam Stewart Dance Band. Comperes were Robert Love and Ian Lees.
Thanks to a grant by the Arbroath Improvement Trust, these functions were recorded on video and a DVD will be produced in conjunction with the Grand Dance which was held in the Community Centre last Saturday evening.
Approximately 400 spectators and dancers attended and they danced the night away with a variety of 30 different dances to the Scottish dance bands of George Rennie, Tom Orr, Liam Stewart, Neil Hardie and Graeme Mitchell, and Catticloo from Shetland. Compere Robert Lovie had the formidable task of keeping it all together.
The pub sessions in the Central Bar, Commercial Inn, Foundry Bar, Smugglers Tavern, Pageant, Millgate Bar, Station Bar and the Bell Rock Restaurant were well attended on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons and the atmosphere in the town was welcome as visitors made their way from pub to pub to listen to the excellent music provided by the visiting bands
A grand ceilidh was held in the Community Centre on the Sunday night attended by 300 fans to bring to an end another very successful festival.
Compere for the evening was Ian Lees and artists who had appeared during the weekend took part along with George Balfour; David Bell and the Lyne Valley Band from Carlisle; Huntly Quines fiddlers; the Barrack Jamieson Band; the Rosely Ceilidh Band; and the Scott Band.
For information about next year's event, keep checking website, www.aaff.co.uk. It is envisaged that the DVD will be out in October.
Arrangements for the eighth Festival are already in hand, and it will again be held in Arbroath on July 2, 3 and 4, 2010.
Ron Ramsay extended grateful thanks to those who sponsored the festival by providing donations and prizes for the raffles. They included Angus Council, Smithys, Grace Patterson Florist, Seaton Estate, Merry Maids Domestic Cleaners, Changes, Flemings the Butchers, Ramsay Fabrication Ltd, Morrisons, Tesco, Colin M Smith, Alex Spink & Sons, Arbroath Improvement Trust, Mackays Jam, and other individuals.