One of the world’s best-loved Scotch whisky festivals will become even bigger this year, combining music with malt to produce a mouth-watering cocktail of entertainment. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has launched the Spirit of Speyside Sessions – a new world-class music event celebrating the area’s rich traditional music heritage.

The Sessions – which will run in tandem with the Festival from May 1-5 - will be staged at whisky-themed venues across the region, including distilleries, bars and even a vintage train. Launched as part of the Festival’s programme for the Year of Homecoming Scotland, it boasts an impressive line-up of first rate traditional music acts, comedians and ceilidhs.

Festival manager Mary Hemsworth says, “We are very excited to launch the Spirit of Speyside Sessions, a festival within the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.  Our organisers have managed to pull out all the stops and have put together a packed schedule of events that really celebrate everything the region has to offer – whisky, food, music, community and heritage. 

“It will be a show-stopping part of the main festival’s programme, and over the coming years we hope it will grow to become a one of the best traditional music festivals in the world. With so many fantastic artists that will appeal to music fans young and old, this major addition to our programme will open the whisky festival up to a whole new audience. By promoting variety within the festival we aim to increase the number of visitors to the area and as a result widen the economic benefit.”

Visitors to the Spirit of Speyside Sessions can enjoy a huge range of musical performances from traditional Scottish bands such as Old Blind Dogs and The Shee to indie rockers Withered Hand. The Allstar Ceilidh Band and Trail West Ceilidh will also perform, along with whisky comedian Alan Anderson.  

Festival Chairman James Campbell commented, “The Spirit of Speyside Sessions offer a great programme of events that really showcases what Speyside has to offer, not only as an area that is synonymous with whisky, but as an area renowned for promoting great creative talent. By hosting events in some of the area’s most iconic venues we can ensure visitors enjoy an experience they won’t forget - from dancing the night away at the Tomintoul Distillery to hopping on board the Folk Train on the Keith & Dufftown Heritage Railway.”

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead says, “This is one of my favourite events of the year, I can think of no better combination than enjoying a tasty dram with some fantastic music and celebrating all that is good about Scotland. The Spirit of Speyside Festival grows from strength to strength and in this year of Homecoming, the Spirit of Speyside Sessions will provide an excellent opportunity for our visitors to join us in celebrating our music culture and heritage, as well as joining us in the enjoyment of some world class whisky and food, set in the splendour of the Speyside valley.”

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