Record-breaking music festival fantastic at forty

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Generations of people have cut their musical teeth at Mid Argyll Music Festival and this year’s event got underway, appropriately, with performances from some budding performers.

The 40th anniversary Mid Argyll Music Festival is the biggest yet, with more than 550 performers of all ages taking part from as far away as Islay, Oban, Campbeltown and Glasgow.

The festival opened on Monday March 18 in Ardrishaig Public Hall with poetry performed with gusto by primary school pupils, before the focus turned to choral competitions, duets and solo singing.

Later in the week, the competitive action will feature musical instruments at solo, ensemble and band events.

All eyes will be on the prestigious Co-operative Premier Award, presented at the end of the festival to the most promising performer chosen by the adjudicators from all the performances throughout the week.

But it’s not all about the white heat of competition.

The non-competitive children’s classes are guaranteed to encourage fun in a more relaxed environment, while a festival highlight each year is the Songs from the Shows extravaganza on Wednesday night.

The judging panel includes vocal coach Ann Lampard, musician Christina Thomson, Mod music adjudicators Stewart Fyffe and Raibeart McCallum, piping adjudicator Ian Hurst and verse speaking adjudicator Anne Curnyn.

Mid Argyll Music Festival chairman Martin Gorringe said: ‘The festival continues to flourish despite cuts to funding. The number of competitors has risen significantly this year, so particular thanks to parents and teachers who devote their time encouraging the next generation of budding musicians.’

As part of the festival’s 40th anniversary celebrations there is to be a special concert in June, where talented past performers will return to Ardrishaig Public Hall to entertain.

This year’s festival continues until Saturday March 23, on which day the venue will be Lochgilphead Joint Campus. Competitions start at 9.30am and continue throughout the day, culminating in the evening band competitions and the presentation of the festival’s major awards.

All performances are open daily to the public for a modest entry fee.