Folk festival blows into Linlithgow for 20th year as times are-a-changing

The world may be going to hell in a handcart but at least you can rely on the power of real honest to goodness roots music to pull you through.

By James Trimble
Thursday, 5th September 2019, 12:19 pm
Emily Smith and Jamie McLennan will headline Linlithgow Folk Festival.
Emily Smith and Jamie McLennan will headline Linlithgow Folk Festival.

Through good times and bad times over the last two decades, Linlithgow Folk Festival has been a constant source of enjoyment for those who like to watch, listen and play music that never follows fleeting trends or goes out of fashion.

This year’s event runs from Wednesday, September 11 to Sunday, September 15 – that’s five days of fantastic folk featuring established, internationally renowned acts and local legends in equal measure.

There’s also an emphasis on youth this year, with many of the acts still in the very early stages of their musical careers.

The big headliners for the 2019 festival are duo Emily Smith and Jamie McClennan – making a welcome return to the streets of the Royal Burgh.

Scottish singer Emily and Kiwi songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jamie have been performing and recording together for 15 years, but took some time off a couple of years ago to concentrate on writing new material and this turned out to be two albums worth of gems – the first, Unplugged, was released last year and the second is due to hit the turntables later in 2019.

Drawing on the well worn folk tradition the duo also dip their toes into the warm waters of Americana, with rich vocal harmonies backed by a low key orchestra of accordion, fiddle and guitar.

Their much anticipated concert, featuring support from Stirling seven-piece Forth Street, takes place at the Rose Social Club, in Braehead Road, on Friday, September 13 – a lucky date if ever there was one for music lovers.

Smith and McClennan are just one of the talented turns people can come and see this year, with none other than BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Benedict Morris also taking to the stage at the Songs and Reels at the Rose event in the Rose Club.

There’s something to suit everyone’s taste – well, maybe not death metal fans – with musical cruises along the canal, a family ceilidh at the Vennel, the Hub at the Masonic, a Bluegrass concert, a gospel session, and, of course, the outdoor Nora Devine Stage at the Cross.

Nora’s stage will feature a whole host of acts this year on Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15, topped by Glasgow’s St Roch’s Ceili Band.

The popular Youth Showcase takes place at St Michael’s Kirk Hall, giving young performers – including Falkirk Junior Gaelic Choir – a chance to shine in front of an appreciative audience.

Full details of the Folk Festival programme can be found in a 12-page guide which is available in local outlets.

Visit for more information on performers and dates, times and locations of performances.