Guest announced for 2018 Festival – 4 to 6 May

GUESTS INCLUDE: The Tannahill Weavers; Len Graham & Jack Lynch; Rita Gallagher; Lori Watson Trio; George Duff, Kevin MacLeod, John Martin, Leo McCann; Nick Dow; Eddie Seaman & Luc McNally; Maggie MacInnes Trio; Margaret Bennett; Susan McClure; Aileen Carr; Haggerdash; Fàilte; The Barrstools; Suitcase Circus; Irma Helou; The Tattiehowkers Ceilidh Band.

Tannahill Weavers

The Tannahill Weavers – Over the years the Tannies have been trailblazers for Scottish music. In 2011 the band was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame, and in 2014 they were joined by innovative piper Lorne MacDougall. With their 50th anniversary in 2018, the Tannahill Weavers are firmly established as one of the premier groups on the concert stage. From reflective ballads to footstomping reels and jigs, the variety and range of the material they perform is matched only by their enthusiasm and lively Celtic spirits.


As a guitar-accompanied singer, he sounds startlingly like Nic Jones, unaccompanied, he’s really a good and interesting singer.

Nick Dow is an all-round professional folk singer and folklorist, singing and researching English and Irish traditional songs, taught and encouraged by traditional singers from Dorset and Lancashire as well as singers from the travelling people. He also builds and restores gypsy wagons. Nick is an acknowledged expert on West Country folk song. Together with his wife Mally, has collected over 300 songs in Dorset, and discovered singers in Lancashire & Essex. He has also made recordings of gypsy singers, some of which have been included on Topic Records ’The Voice of the People’. Nick has lived an amazing life, travelling half way round the world, living on the road with the travelling folk and learning their songs, working as a TV and Film Extra, broadcaster, Narrowboat painter, writer, Folklorist, Guitar Teacher General Dealer. Every song Nick sings has a story attached to it, and his gigs are as informative as they are entertaining.


This year’s Gradam for Amhránaí na Bliana (Singer of the Year 2017) goes to RITA GALLAGHER

Upon hearing this distinctive traditional singer, one is immediately aware one is listening to a vocalist of incredible ability. Her mastery of tone, breath, and ornamentation, coupled with her extensive knowledge and understanding of songs, from her native South Donegal and beyond, leave one in no doubt that one is truly in the presence of greatness. A three-time winner of the Comhaltas All-Ireland title for female singing in English, her extensive repertoire contains many exceptionally challenging songs, all of which she makes sound effortless.

See website for further details

2018 Festival Dates. Friday 4th to Sunday 6th May, 2018

The dates for the 2018 are Friday 4th to Sunday 6th May. 


Here’s another practical way small donation way to help support this year’s festival. Please share the crowd funding link with your contacts:

Help raise £1500 to continue the tradition and build for the future of the Girvan Traditional Folk Festival

We’re grateful to everyone who helped the Festival to raise over £600 through crowdfunding last year. That gave us a boost and a belief that “people out there” care about what the Girvan Traditional Folk Festival stands for.
Since the 2017 event, we have refreshed the organising committee and brought in new energy – determined to consolidate the Festival and build for its future. We’ve developed an outreach programme with concerts arranged in villages around Girvan and new marketing initiatives including a new Facebook page (@girvanfestival) and an updated website ( – where you can find out more about our history and plans.
Our crowdfunding target this year is a bit more ambitious and we hope you will help us to reach it. Please help us to make the 2018 Festival (4th to 6th May) a huge success

Looking forward to 2024 – The 50th Girvan Folk Festival

2024 will be the 50th Anniversary of Girvan Festival and we hope to reach that milestone on the crest of a wave. 

Although the committee has started working towards our festival in 2018, we have one eye on the longer-term future.  2024 will be the 50th Anniversary of Girvan Festival and we hope to reach that milestone on the crest of a wave.  Our assumption is that none (or few) of the present organisers will be in place beyond the 50th Festival – although there might be a continuing role as mentors – so we now have just a few short years to address issues of how best to pass the torch on to younger generations.

Few will disagree that the folk scene is maturing gracefully and the ‘ageing issue’ is one that most folk festivals are facing. We have to believe, and do believe, that solutions are there to be found. The Girvan committee is of the opinion that the Festival has the ability to continue to appeal to its core audience; the ability to reinvent itself to a newer audience; and the capability of re-engaging with some of its former audiences, including those from further afield.

A lot of work has been done in the background. We have plans or the coming months which we hope you will be enthused by, and a more strategic plan, which could be summarised as:

  • A two-year period of careful, considered consolidation – focussing on our core current audience and on re-establishing links with audience sectors which for whatever reasons have lost the habit of attending.

Followed by:

  • A five-year period, leading up to the 50th Festival during which major issues of succession will need to be addressed. 

To keep in touch with progress, we encourage you to subscribe to the email News Feed on this website.  Those of you who have already joined the mailing list on this site, will have already received this ‘news story’ by email.  You won’t be flooded by messages. If the site has a story added, you will get an email.  If nothing has been added – no email.  As the Meercats say – Simples!

P.S.  The festival dates for 2018 are May 4, 5 and 6, 2018.  We hope that you have them in your diary.


Looking forward to 2018 Festival

Well, we are starting to gear up the arrangements for 2018. I don’t think any of the organising committee of 1975, imagined that the Festival would still be going strong in 2018.

There is a new look Committee with some new “old faces” and a new “new face”. Pete Heywood who has been associated with Festival since the outset comes back to the Committee and with Maggie Macrae will make a formidable team on the creative and artistic side. We are expecting an exciting programme of “not to be missed” old and new artists.

If you were at the early Festivals you may remember the other “old face”, Stewart Sheddon. Stewart returns after a long absence to assist with general admin. The new face is Lorna McColm, a fine local traditional singer in her own right, Lorna brings some particular expertise in the fields of accommodation and travel, so watch out for special packages for the weekend being offered.