Music in the Castle

Some reviews

Music In The Castle - A Festival With a Difference

I'm delighted to say that the essence of the mini festival is very much alive and well in Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula in Scotland's southern Argyll region. For the last two years I've attended the Easter Weekend Festival run by Dave and Lorna Dewar at the Benmore Centre, a castle on the outskirts of Dunoon, about one and a half hours drive from Glasgow. This journey includes a scenic ferry ride.

If anyone wants a quality weekend without the hustle and bustle of the large festival, this is one I would recommend. Whether you play an instrument, sing or just enjoy listening, this is one of the very best around.

It comes complete with its own personality, a sort of warm welcoming feeling that gets to you from day one. It's compact and cosy without being over fussy and dare I say star studded. You really can get involved in all the events and activities and most important, to my mind, the people who attend are fantastic.

All the ingredients are there; plenty of good music, a lively Saturday evening ceilidh, day time guitar and song writing workshops, great music sessions , a Sunday evening concert, good food and accommodation in the main venue and warm friendly people.

For the adventurous, there's even the chance to go abseiling, kayaking or hill and gorge walking as the centre is normally used as an outdoor education. The centre staff are particularly helpful and efficient and of course the ever-attentive Dave & Lorna are always on hand to ensure that everything runs smoothly &emdash; what more could you ask for?

These weekends are great value for money; all the main activities, the food, accommodation, the concerts and workshops are included in the price of the ticket. Fortunately, due to limited capacity at the main concert venue, this little gem of a festival has a good chance of remaining just that. If you are interested, you'll need to get your name down fairly early, because once this event becomes well known, places will be very much in demand. Well done Dave & Lorna for organising such great weekends.

Stan Graham
Black Swan Folk Club, York
The Living Tradition

Well Done Dave Dewar

says John Scott (Member of Scottish Parliament for Ayr).

Following a successful concert at the Tam O'Shanter Experience to-day, John Scott praised Dave Dewar for taking this bold initiative. Speaking after the opening of the concert, John Scott said “Dave Dewar has delivered to-day an idea for promoting Burns and tourism in Ayr and I applaud his initiative — we all know the potential of tourism is great, but to-day Dave and Lorna Dewar have taken a practical step by organising these events to actually start attracting more tourists to Ayr and Ayrshire.”

Ayr Advertiser

Chairman's Jottings

Following my recent visit to Dunoon in Scotland for the annual, “Music in the Castle” festival, it set me thinking about folk festivals in general.

For the most part we make up our mindes to attend a festival based on the quality of the acts booked. We then spend most of the weekend rushing around from one venue to another in breathless anticipation, being either elated or deflated by the artists we've seen.

This is where the serenity of Dunoon kicks in. No rushing around is needed, for apart from a ceileidh and a concert, the weekend is all about the people who turn up at this event.

There are plenty of activities on offer, abseiling, canoing and gorge walking as well as workshops for guitar, fiddle and songwriting. But it's the three sessions on each of Friday, Saturday and Sunday that brings the festival goers back each year.

The quality of singers and musicians present means that it is almost as good as a concert in itself and always guarantees at least fifty people in the round on any given evening.


David Jones, Folk Northwest Magazine,
Summer 2003, page 5

Design & Implementation Jan Neuhaus