Killin Music Fest reflects on hugely successful 2023 edition

Much-loved Killin Music Fest enjoyed a successful 2023 edition at the weekend, with over 1,500 visitors making their way to the heart of Scotland for three days of music, culture and family-friendly fun.

The scenic village of Killin on the western tip of Loch Tay came alive with joyful community spirit between Friday 16 and Sunday 18 June, welcoming visitors from all over Scotland and beyond to its stacked sixth edition.

Festival Director Gregor MacKenzie said: “It was amazing to see so many people of all ages and backgrounds flocking to Killin Music Fest this weekend and joining in with the activities, workshops, competitions and, of course, the music. It was also fantastic to be able to welcome campers to the site for the first time this year to a stunning spot close to the festival site. Going forward I hope this helps open up the event for future attendees to soak up the atmosphere for the full three days.

“A huge highlight of the weekend was our Sunday night main stage when our ‘Celtic Kin’ activity programme came to a crescendo. Support from Creative Scotland enabled us to present a full schedule of events designed to celebrate Celtic cultures: their languages, performative arts and music. Norrie MacIver, Unity Irish Dance, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, Ellie Beaton and Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir took us on a journey, and delivered a memorable closing evening.

“This festival is all about community spirit and it was just superb to see everyone getting involved! Thank you so much to everyone who came along, and to all the artists, crafters, suppliers and volunteers who made the weekend so spectacular. It was a heart-warming and invigorating three days.”

Since 2016, Killin Music Fest has attracted the best in Scottish music to the heart of the country, and this year’s line up did not disappoint. Stornoway electro-Celtic band Face The West blew crowds away on Friday night with a spirited set filled with pipes, synth and rock and roll. The unstoppable musical duo Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton closed the show on Saturday, thrilling audiences with their unparalleled energy and enthusiasm.

The festival’s free to access Danny Kyle Stage, presented by Tolbooth Stirling, celebrated exciting, up and coming musical talent throughout each day, with the likes of Lori, Maria McAveety, The No Marcs, The BKs and Moonlight Zoo putting on stunning performances.

The spectacular Doune Pipe Band led a soul stirring procession on Sunday morning to the McLaren Hall’s community stage where the family favourite Col Charles Stewart Competition took place.

The team of Struan McNaughton, Andrew McHendry, Reyss Frost, Declan Barker, Arran Campbell and Archie Finlay won the coveted quaich for their energetic performance of Rattlin’ Rollin’ Willie, narrowly beating a strong field of competitors. Named after Stewart, a prominent figure in Killin and Perthshire who helped to preserve and promote local history, folklore and music, the competition always aims to shine a light on the rich culture and history of the local area.

On the Friday afternoon of the festival, St Roch’s Ceili Band visited the local primary school to perform songs for the children, and to field their questions about being on stage performing, and musical instruments. By the end of the session all of the kids and their teachers were dancing along to the young band’s rousing tunes. Later that night around 35 members of the band packed themselves onto the TRS Main Stage for their set.

A wide range of fringe activities ran throughout the weekend, designed to celebrate the rich cultures and traditions of Scotland. The craft fair held at Killin Parish Church on Saturday proved popular again, while the Highland Hustle workout session at McLaren Hall had everyone on their feet.

The award winning Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir were in town for their main stage set, and in their down time arranged a visit to the local retirement home to meet Elizabeth McDiarmid, one of the co-founders of their choir group, which was established over 50 years ago.

The choir held a special, moving performance for Elizabeth and the residents in the home before taking to the main stage later that night.

First held in 2016, Killin Music Fest has since become a jewel in Perthshire’s traditional music calendar, attracting visitors and locals alike to the picturesque village in the heart of Scotland. The event is rooted in community spirit, showcased throughout the weekend’s schedule of activities.

This year’s festival took place between Friday 16th and Sunday 18th June 2023. Killin Music Fest will return in 2025, running Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd June.