Gaelic music 'super group' to perform at this year's May Festival

Gaelic music 'super group' to perform at this year's May Festival

A host of Gaelic events will feature in a popular festival which will enable audiences of all ages to experience the joy and inspiration of books, music, film, science, food, history, nature, sport and more in the glorious setting of Old Aberdeen.

The programme for the 2015 May Festival has now been launched and it will once again include a celebration of Gaelic, the highlight of which will be a performance by ‘Gaelic music super group’ Dàimh.

Organised by the University of Aberdeen, the May Festival will return from May 29 to 31. In 2014 it attracted more than 9,500 visitors and this year it will encompass a greater range of topics and areas of interest than ever before.

The Festival will take audiences on a journey of discovery where they can hear exciting journeys to the top from adventurer Matt Dickinson, one of only a handful of British climbers to scale Everest’s north summit, former Newsnight host and journalist Gavin Esler who will draw on his experiences of interviewing the world’s most powerful people, and Patrick Miley, coach and father of one of Scotland’s most successful swimmers, Hannah Miley.

Now in its third year, the Festival builds on the success of the Word Festival and literary events will once again be at its heart with acclaimed writer Michel Faber, whose novel The Crimson Petal and White was dramatised for TV, and award-winner David Mitchell who has twice been listed for the Booker Prize and whose novel Cloud Atlas was adapted for a film starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry.

There will also be a session dedicated to the poetry of the late Iain Banks hosted by his good friend and novelist Ken Macleod and an event celebrating Scottish urban myths and legends with storytellers Sheena Blackhall and Grace Banks.

Tales of a different kind will be shared by Matt Lewis, now an award-winning novelist, who will recount his extraordinary story of survival at sea following the sinking of a boat where 17 of the crew were lost, and producer Oggy Boytchev who will detail what it is like to work with journalists including the BBC’s John Simpson in war-zones around the world.

Film and music will once again feature strongly with Notting Hill director Roger Michell explaining what it’s like to work with stars including Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant and performances from the internationally-renowned Edinburgh Quartet and PJ Moore of the band Blue Nile.

There will be a strong Scottish flavour running throughout the Festival with ‘Fiddle at Sea’ exploring the importance of music among Scottish sailors, and a look at the poet W.B Yeats in Scotland.

A dedicated Gaelic strand, supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig is also included which will see Dàimh take to the stage at the Lemon Tree. Dàimh, taking their name from the Gaelic word for kinship, are celebrating 15 years since their first album, and are a long‐established favourite at folk festivals in Scotland, Ireland and across Europe, have been twice nominated for Folk Band of the Year at the Scots Traditional Music Awards, and are also regulars on BBC television.

Angus Mackenzie, ofthe band said: “Dàimh are delighted to be taking part in the 2015 University of Aberdeen's May Festival. This will be first time in a few years since the band has performed in the city and we are delighted to come back to one of our favourite venues in The Lemon Tree. It's great to see that there is such a strong element of Gaelic in the program, and hope to catch one or two things while we're about in the city.”

As well as Dàimh performing, there are a host of other Gaelic events on throughout the May Festival weekend including “Don’t Make a Further Loan of a Loan”, an event which looks at interactions and word transfer between Gaelic and other languages, taking place in the Linklater Rooms at The University of Aberdeen, between 11.00am-12.00pm on Saturday May 30. Another is “That’s The Spirit”, a whisky tasting event taking place again in the Linklater Rooms at The University of Aberdeen, between 5.30-6.30pm on Sunday May 31 where festival-goers can join Guy Finlayson from Deeside Drinks Emporium on a journey to tantalise taste buds and learn more about the  Gaelic words and phrases used within the world of whisky.

Dr Moray Watson, Senior Lecturer in Gaelic Language, here at the University of Aberdeen said “Gaelic is always a prominent feature within the May Festival, and before that the Word Festival, so we are very excited to offer such a rich programme of events, that will attract a diverse audience from the city and beyond. Aberdeen has two Gaelic schools and several Gaelic groups, as well as a long history of connections with the language and its culture, and so it is entirely appropriate that the May Festival offers these opportunities for local people and others to participate in Gaelic-related cultural events. While Gaelic has not been native to Aberdeenshire for many years now, there remain several hundred speakers of the language within the city, and many Aberdonians are interested in the 'other language of the North', whether they know any Gaelic or not. The May Festival creates an exciting context in which to develop new hobbies and friendships, in the spirit of discovery.”

Tickets are available at the Aberdeen Box Office and bookings can be made in person, by calling 01224 641122, or online at

For further information about the May Festival, booking tickets and to view the programme, visit: