post

Tamfest September Update

What a busy month August has been for us in Tamfest world! Work is well underway for our two key projects, The Tam o’ Shanter Trail of Terror and our unique film project! Visit our events page to find out more information on both.

The Tamfest team had a fantastic day at the iconic The Gaiety Theatre in Ayr for a day of filming for the film project with Eddi Reader (One of Scotland’s most cherished singer/songwriters and recipient of 3 Brit Awards) and Cameron Nixon (BBC young traditional musician of the year finalist) it was a joy to work with them both and we can’t wait to show you the end results! In a few weeks time we will be filming again with Cameron outdoors at another iconic location in Ayr to add a few surprises to the film! We also cannot wait to start filming with Lachlan Goudie (Writer, TV presenter and one of Scotland’s top artists ) at the end of September for his key role in the project!

Tam Beyond Reality…. A Virtual Storytelling of Tam o’ Shanter

Remember tickets are selling very fast for our fantastic virtual event, Tam Beyond Reality…. A Virtual Storytelling of Tam o’ Shanter! Sign up soon before it sells out at Eventbrite for a unique Tamfest event that is FREE! Tamfest is rooted in heritage and inspired by Robert Burns, Tam o’ Shanter. Ever wondered how marvellous it would it be to drop into this most epic of poems and see parts of the story unfold? Or how about traveling back in time to Alloway Kirk in the 18th Century on a strange haunted night similar to the one encountered by Burn’s most popular character Tam o’ Shanter? Well at Tamfest, now you can thanks to a new virtual reality education platform edify developed through a partnership with the University of Glasgow!

New Virtual Event

We also have a new virtual event added to the festival lineup in October! We have a great virtual reading for children(8-13) by the Author, Garry Stewart from his fantastic book –The Shanter Legacy: The Search for the Grey Mare’s Tail! The book was originally a popular play and the book is a fine development from it. As well as being a fun read, it is a bridge to Robert Burns being a ‘sequel’ of sorts to ‘Tam o’ Shanter’! The book is described as ‘magical realist fiction’, ‘fantasy adventure’, and ‘fantasy/horror’. The author, Garry Stewart, is well-equipped to write in this theme. He is an award-winning actor, writer and director!

Trail of Terror! 

We hope you have been enjoying watching our creative team on our social media turn everything into a Tamfest reality for The Tam o’ Shanter Trail of Terror! This will run at stages 5 to 14 of the Bluebonnet Trails in Ayr on October 25th -31st. Please keep checking our social media for updates on this family-friendly self-led wicked walk! 

Craig Campbell Art ©

Tam’s Sunday Club

Tam’s Sunday Club which showcases talent from Ayrshire, Scotland and worldwide continues to grow and be a great success. We have a fantastic lineup for you on September 26th!

Rosie Sings

Rosie has an impressive pop soprano sound! She trained in London and went on to perform in shows in the West End and worldwide. Rosie has been a session singer and voice artist for over 10 years!

D.A. Watson

An acclaimed Scottish horror Author gives us an exclusive reading from his acclaimed book – In The Devils Name! “Some of the locals in Ballantrae still tell tales about haunted Bennane Head, the cliffs just up the coast where the mythical Sawney Bean is said to have dwelt with his family during the seventeenth century. Never walk past there at night, they say, or heaven help you. Just a ghost story to give the tourists a thrill….”

Davie Anderson

Davie mixes the genres of Folk, Americana, Rockabilly, Blues and also a touch of Robert Burns! 

Stay in Touch

As Tamfest enters its 7th year we can’t thank you enough for your support! Remember to like and share any content you enjoy and write to us. We’d love to hear from you. Please keep an eye on our social media for updates and fun posts related to Tamfest!

Yours truly,
Meredith (Tamfest Chair) 

post

Tamfest August Update

We hope you have all been enjoying the summer and the great Scottish weather we have been having! As we get closer to all things Tamfest in October, we have a busy and productive time ahead!

Work is starting this month on one of our key projects for the festival. We can’t give away too much just now but we can let you know that this will be a unique film project and will feature Eddi Reader, one of Scotland’s most cherished singer/songwriters and recipient of 3 Brit Awards. Lachlan Goudie, writer, TV presenter and one of Scotland’s top artists. Cameron Nixon, BBC young traditional musician of the year finalist. It is an honour for us to work with Eddi, Lachlan and Cameron!

The Gaiety

The Gaiety is one of Scotland’s oldest and most iconic theatres. We are delighted that they are playing a key part in the project. The Gaiety’s support who are one of our long-term sponsors is essential to the festival every year. The film project will be shown on the evening of Halloween – Sunday October 31st! As always, more details to follow soon!

Tickets are selling very fast for our fantastic virtual event, Tam Beyond Reality….A Virtual Storytelling of Tam o’Shanter!

Sign up soon before it sells out at Eventbrite to sign up for a unique Tamfest event that is FREE! Tamfest is rooted in heritage and inspired by Robert Burns, Tam o’ Shanter. Ever wondered how marvellous it would it be to drop into this most epic of poems and see parts of the story unfold? Or how about traveling back in time to Alloway Kirk in the 18th Century on a strange haunted night similar to the one encountered by Burn’s most popular character Tam o’ Shanter? Well at Tamfest, now you can thanks to a new virtual reality education platform edify developed through a partnership with the University of Glasgow!

Festival Importance By Marjorie Calder

Singing, dancing and performing your way back from a pandemic doesn’t sound too bad a strategy – and can provide a credible approach to urban and rural regeneration also. “It stands to reason that music and the arts tap into energies and emotions in a way that other activities simply can’t,” according to Meredith McCrindle, the driving force behind Ayrshire’s annual Tamfest festival. Now expanded to encompass events all year long, Tamfest originally started out as a celebration of two unlikely bedfellows; Robert Burns and Halloween, through the link of the classic Halloween poem, Tam o’ Shanter. Its purpose is already established as an Ayrshire artistic showcase; bringing together talent and tourism across Ayrshire, currently in a virtual sense but widening to encompass the footfall and spending of visitors again as soon as pandemic uncertainty allows. 

Tam’s Sunday Club

Tune in on the 25th July for our Tam’s Sunday Club! Turn it up this month and get your Tam on...

Tam’s Sunday Club which showcases talent from Ayrshire, Scotland and worldwide continues to grow and be a great success. We have a fantastic line up for you on August 29th…

Flew The Arrow – Very popular Alt / folk artist from Ayrshire, residing in Glasgow.

Frank Gormanley – Male vocalist in the hugely popular Ayrshire band Angelstar and is performing an exclusive solo set. Frank is also the President for the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce!

Christie Oliver -Fantastic rising singer / songwriter from West Lothian! 

Stay in Touch

As Tamfest enters its 7th year we can’t thank you enough for your support! Remember to like and share any content you enjoy and write to us. We’d love to hear from you. Please keep an eye on our social media for updates and fun posts related to Tamfest!

Yours truly,
Meredith (Tamfest Chair) 

post

The Towzie Tyke

Celtic Stories of the Devil Dog

A winnock bunker in the east,
There sat Auld Nick in shape o’ beast:
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge;

When Robert Burns wrote of the legendary ‘towzie tyke’ in his famous poem, Tam o’ Shanter, the depiction was one to strike a curious fear into the readers’ hearts. The association is an interesting one to reflect on, especially when ‘the dog’ is supposed to be man’s best friend, so what conclusion are we to draw? Is the black dog friend or foe? The black, devil dog or towzie tyke, was a character that frequented many a Celtic folktale and was a symbol to be feared. There is one legend that a black demon dog, trained by an English knight, was a fearless adversary and took down many a Scottish solider in the Battle of Roslyn in 1303. However, the dog was slain during the battle and is said to still roam the garden at Roslyn Chapel, terrifying anyone that crosses its path. There are stories from Tyree of a black dog that follows walkers along the beach, letting out a mournful howl before disappearing into thin air. 

Harry’s Uncle Sirius Black, aka ‘Padfoot’

In the British Isles, the black dog is associated with impending death or a disaster. However, in some legends, the black dog is said to be a personal guardian at times, especially over small, unattended children; prompting parents to be more watchful. J.K. Rowling even integrated the imagery into the Harry Potter series with the introduction of Harry’s Uncle Sirius Black, aka ‘Padfoot’ as he had the ability to shapeshift into a large black, protector. 

In one Scottish legend, a man from the Highlands selected a black pup from a litter and was told by the breeder that the ‘dug’ will only work one day in its life. The man paid no attention and raised the pup, although many found the dog to be useless and urged the man to get rid of it. Then the time came for the man to go hunting on a distant isle with his friends and he brought the dog along. The men would say, ‘why would you bring this useless animal when he does nothing for you?’ The man replied, ‘the dog’s day will come’. That day came sooner than he thought. After a long day of hunting the men took shelter in a nearby cave for the night. As their bonfire burned and whisky flowed, the men longed for a fair maiden to dance with. All the men made the same wish except for the man with his dog. Shortly thereafter, some beautiful and mysterious women entered the cave and using magic, danced the night away until the fire turned to ash. When all was dark, the men’s screams echoed throughout the cave as the sound of death was heard. At these screams the dog stood against the darkness and ran after the beautiful creatures that were in fact Baobhan Sith (baa-van-shee), or shapeshifting vampires. The fighting was fierce and raged until dawn when the dog returned to its master to lay on his lap one last time. The dog’s day or rather night had come and the dog served the man with its own life. 

Magnificent black wolf with yellow eyes

The most relevant association with the black dog within our society today, might feel slightly too close to home for some of us. It’s sad that depression often feels like the presence of a ‘black dog’ looming as a constant companion. However, the use of the term ‘black dog’ can also help identify those dark feelings and allow the individual to seek help as result. Interestingly, to this day black dogs are the last to be adopted from pet shelters. Maybe it’s in our ancient psychology to steer clear from this seemingly dangerous demon, but like any dog, treated with respect and love, they can be powerful allies and soothing friends. Understanding their heritage and our association with these creatures, bring us ever closer to understanding ourselves. After all, in the famous poem Tam o’ Shanter, Robert Burns states; 

To gie them music was his charge; 
He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl. 

 

post

Tamfest News

Tam o’ Shanter | Halloween | Robert Burns

Welcome to our first newsletter, where we will provide you with monthly updates on Tamfest, all our other events and projects plus fun and interesting posts on topics related to Tamfest’s history and heritage! Tamfest 2021 has started out with a bang, with the success of our monthly Tam’s Sunday Club, showcasing the rich talent of Ayrshire and Scotland. Recently one of our Sunday Club performers, Ayrshire poet Tracy Harvey, had over 120,000 views, with people tuning in worldwide! Tam’s Sunday Club on Sunday 25th April will have an all-star line up with exclusive performances from popular Scottish folk singer Elsa McTaggart, world-renowned Scottish artist, writer and TV presenter, Lachlan Goudie, and Ayrshire’s international songwriter, Jamie McGeechan. This is one not to be missed! 


This summer, Tamfest will also be starting the Young Tam’s Friday Club. A companion event to the Sunday Club featuring performers from Ayrshire and Scotland 18 years of age and under. More details to be announced soon! We have also been developing projects with the Robert Burns World Federation and Robert Burns Association of North America on a virtual takeover from July to September. This will feature performances from members worldwide from both organisations!

This year Tamfest will not be held on one day and instead will feature high impact and unique events over the whole month of October. We look forward to sharing more details on this soon! Stay in Touch As Tamfest enters its 7th year we can’t thank you enough for your support, it is deeply appreciated! Remember to like and share any content you enjoy and write us. We’d love to hear from you. Please keep an eye on our social media for updates and fun posts related to Tamfest!