Hamish Henderson Festival Press Release

16 October

Call from locals to show film about Blairgowrie-born Hamish Henderson in his home toon leads to the organising of a Festival in his honour.

Hamish Henderson was a Scottish poet, songwriter, soldier and intellectual who was born in Blairgowrie, on 11th November, 1919. Through his work in the fields of folk song and poetry, he has been referred to as the founding father of Scotland’s 20th century folk renaissance.

In 2016, a documentary was produced in Scotland by film-maker Robbie Fraser about the life of Hamish Henderson – having been 14 years in the making, it was premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival. There were immediate calls from locals for the film to be screened in his birthplace. And so, from this, and spurred on by the enthusiasm and determination of a group of locals, the idea of a Hamish Henderson Festival was born.

The inaugural Hamish Matters Festival took place last year, at which the documentary ‘Hamish’ was shown and which culminated in a Cèilidh evening which celebrated many elements of Hamish’s legacy to Scottish culture.

Such was the success of the event that this year, a bigger and better Festival takes place from 7th – 10th November. Highlights of the Festival include author Fred Freeman talking on his friend and mentor Hamish in Blairgowrie Library, and an evening of Poetry and music with inestimable local poet Jim Mackintosh, accompanied by Jon Plunkett, Morag Anderson and Stuart Patterson - along with musicians including Hamish MacGregor and friends.

There are events for children in the programme, including local primary schools performing songs and poems written and collected by Hamish Henderson, and a Perthshire tales storytelling session with Lindsey Gibb, We’ll hear ‘The Tale o’ the Wee Mowdie’ and there is a Bookbug session for babies and pre-schoolers where stories will be told in Scots and in Gaelic.

Folklorist, writer, singer and broadcaster. Margaret Bennett and Scottish radio broadcaster Fiona Ritchie MBE will be in conversation about Hamish and his legacy. The programme of events will be rounded off with a People’s Cèilidh in Blairgowrie Town Hall – with songs, music, stories and poems in the spirit of Henderson's ground-breaking 1951 Festival Cèilidh in Edinburgh, which has been cited as a catalyst for the modern Scottish Folk Revival.

Perthshire poet Jim Mackintosh, who is one of the team who have organised this year's Festival, said “It’s important we take care of our heritage, be proud of our various cultures and celebrate them whether they stand alone or sit comfy thegither weaving words and song into joy.”

“Hamish Henderson recognised and embraced all of that but most importantly appreciated that the folks who created our culture and those who continue to do so today have a rightful place on the World stage – and oanyweys Hamish Matters is aboot haein a richt guid hooley wi yer pals and aiblins makin neu yins!”

And with 2019 marking the centenary of the birth of Hamish, it is only right that this should be marked with a further celebration of his life. The Hamish Matters Festival has already taken its place firmly on the calendar of annual Perthshire events.

If you would like to get involved, or find out more information, please contact John Corrigan on JCorrigan@pkc.gov.uk or phone 0774 862 397. Or call into Blairgowrie Library – you can take a look at the bust of Hamish situated in the library while you are there. You can also buy tickets this year’s events from the Library.

For more information on events & tickets go to our Facebook page - @HamishMatters. You’ll also find details of some of the events on Eventbrite. Follow us on Facebook & Twitter too.

Here is the recording:

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