The Fife Traditional Singing Festival

Annual festival in Falkland & Freuchie, Fife in May

The Fife Traditional Singing Festival
FifeSing is held annually on the weekend following the
second Wednesday in May

Guests appearing at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival 12-14 May 2023
Updated 24 April 2023 (v29)

Fife Traditional Singing Festival 2023

Friday 12 May to Sunday 14 May 2023
Various venues in Falkland and Freuchie, Fife

Back once again with a live gathering! A weekend of traditional song - a unique opportunity to meet singers and hear traditional song in an informal gathering and participate in concerts, workshops and singarounds. Guest singers from Scotland, England and Ireland.

We are very pleased to add to the guest list:
Denis McGonigle: traditional singer from Inishowen, Donegal.

Here is a link to the famous whaling song of The Balaena recorded by Stewart and Anne Brown and Dundee's Lowland Folk in the 1950s. Stewart & Anne will be singing and talking of Dundee songs on Saturday 13th - and expect to be on the concert on Saturday 14th in the Falkland Community Hall.

You Tube: The Balaena

Saturday Traditional Concert tickets are available online - Click on: Eventbrite


Click for Full Brochure with Manual Booking Form PDF 2023
Festival Brochure

Even better: Click to download the NEW email Booking Form.
This includes the essential Menu selection for the Festival Dinner.

All-In Ticket (Friday to Sunday): £60
includes Buffet Lunches & Saturday Traditional Concert.
NOTE: Festival Dinner must be booked separately.
Friday Evening Gathering: £10
All day Saturday & Traditional Concert: £38
includes Buffet Lunch
Saturday morning Workshops/Talks: £8
Saturday afternoon Ballad Concert: £10
Festival Dinner (The Bruce Inn, Falkland) £16
Saturday Traditional Concert (Falkland Community Hall): £12
All day Sunday: £24
includes Buffet Lunch
Sunday morning Workshops/Talks: £8
Sunday Farewell Concert: £10

Payment by cheque or online direct to our bank. If you pay online send us a note (with your name(s) and address) by email to let us know you have paid and details booked.
Preferably still send booking form by post or as email attachment.
Saturday Traditional Concert tickets are easily available from Eventbrite

Bank of Scotland, Cupar
East of Scotland Traditional Song Group
Identify your online payment with your name. Sort Code: 80-06-26
A/C Number: 00116207

Old Songs on FifeSing/ Sound Cloud

Old Songs on fifesing/ soundcloud

The Festival in Falkland & Freuchie

Most events will take place in the Lumsden Memorial Hall in Freuchie just across the road from the Lomond Hills Hotel. The Friday Gathering will be laid out with seats around tables - bring along your own refreshements - food/ drink. The Traditional Concert on Saturday evening will be held in the Community Hall in Falkland. The Weekend and Day tickets include a Buffet Lunch in the Lumsden Memorial Hall. The Festival Dinner will be in the Bruce Inn in Falkland - please complete Menu Selection on the NEW email Booking Form. Full programme details below and in the downloadable FifeSing2023 Festival Brochure (see links above).

Scott Gardiner:
singer, bothy ballads, from Forfarshire.
Dr. Tom McKean:
folklorist, Elphinstone Institute, Aberdeen.
Denis McGonigle:
traditional singer from Inishowen, Donegal.
Jo Miller:
singer, fiddler, musicologist, Stirling.
Stewart & Anne Brown:
songs & traditions of Dundee.
Jan Reid & Angel Stewart-Howden:
songs from family tradition.
Steve Black:
singer, Cumbria.
Emily Portman:
singer, musician from South West England.
[Stuart Carolan:
traditional singer from Drogheda, Co. Louth - cancelled]

Scott Gardiner:
is one of Scotland’s top traditional singers, and has been performing at concerts and festivals across the country since his schooldays. Brought up on a flatland farm in historic Forfarshire, he is best known for singing the bothy ballads and songs of the north-east. Career highlights include representing Scotland at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the USA; winning the Bothy Ballad World Championship in Elgin; three nominations for Scots Singer of the Year at the BBC ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.

Denis McGonigle
is from an extended family of noted traditional singers from Inishowen in Donegal. His cousin Michael McGonigle was our guest at FifeSing in 2017. When your committee of Chris Miles, Jimmy Hutchison and myself Pete Shepheard were at the Inishowen International Folk Song and Ballad Seminar in March we were very pleased we were able to persuade Denis to join us for FifeSing2023.

Dr Tom McKean: As Director of the Elphinstone Institute at Aberdeen University, Dr Tom McKean, a former student of Hamish Henderson, is an internationally recognised folklorist specializing in Scots and Gaelic song, custom, belief and community craft traditions. We are very pleased he has agreed to present a lecture first given as the Hamish Henderson Memorial Lecture at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh in November 2022. Tom is currently Vice President of SIEF (The International Society of Ethnology and Folklore).

Jo Miller: is a singer, fiddler and ethnomusicologist, Based in Stirling, she leads the house singing group ‘Our Front Room’ and the Tolbooth fiddle class. Jo grew up in Galloway, SW Scotland, and is currently working on an album of music from the area. As a performer, she enjoys bringing new life to songs from archives and published sources. Her book Community-based Traditional Music in Scotland: A Pedagogy of Participation was recently published by Routledge. In 2017, Jo received the Hamish Henderson Award for services to traditional music.

Stewart & Anne Brown: and their group, 'Lowland Folk Four,' were stalwarts of the Dundee folk scene of the 1960s and 70s. Led by Stewart Brown with his wife Anne and his brother Ramsay, with occasional fourth members through the years - Phil Gore (mandolin) or Allan Barty (fiddle & mandolin). They achieved fame with their first album ‘Eh’ll Tell the Boaby’ of 1967. The group recorded several more vinyl albums and a more recent CD and also featured on the 1986 record, ‘Coorse and Fine’, a collection of Dundee songs released by Springthyme Records to coincide with Nigel Gatherer’s book Songs and Ballads of Dundee. Their Saturday morning presentation will celebrate Dundee Song tradition - the singers they have known and the songs they have sung - and will be certain to include Mary Brooksbank and her famed Jute Mill Song and the famous song of the Dundee whaler, the Balaena.

Jan Reid & Angel Stewart-Howden: Jan Reid is a daughter of the late traditional singer Elizabeth Stewart of Mintlaw and Angel is Jan’s daughter. Both Jan and Angel grew up with songs and music as an essential part of family life and both are incredibly proud of their family song tradition. Jan and Angel joined us for our online Zoom Gathering in November and we are very pleased they are able to come and take part in FifeSing2023 in Falkland and Freuchie.

Steve Black: Steve, a retired GP from South Cumbria, has been a regular participant in our Fifesing events - at the Festival and our on-line Zoom Gatherings. Originally from Manchester, his professional life as a GP took him and his wife Linda to diverse parts of England and Scotland, including Berwickshire, Mull, Whitby and Nottingham, where he acquired an extensive repertoire of songs gathered from singers he met at folk clubs and sessions. Steve has a particular enthusiasm for the songs of Willie Mitchell of Campbeltown and Willie Scott, the Border Shepherd.

Emily Portman: is a singer, songwriter, banjo and concertina player. Emily was our guest at FifeSing in 2011 when we held the weekend at Collessie Animal Park - and we are very pleased she is able to join us again. Emily was nominated for ‘Best Singer’ in the 2016 BBC Folk awards. She tours widely and is a member of traditional song band The Furrow Collective, who were awarded ‘Best Band’ in the 2017 BBC Folk awards. Emily has been a guest lecturer for Newcastle University and Leeds Conservatoire. She has also presented BBC Radio Merseyside’s folk show ‘Folkscene’, written articles for the acclaimed roots and world music magazine fRoots, and given talks on ballads at Cecil Sharp House and The International Ballad Conference.


We have had a great response with offers of accommodation
- to make up for the loss of the Lomond Hills Hotel in Freuchie.

The following is a list of some of the possible accommodations.
Availability and prices are not given - just phone to enquire.

Allison Oakes: 1db room self catering, in Ladybank. tel: 07975 751099
Rae & Dave: Small Studio in Falkland. View. To book tel: 07977595709
Libby Sim: 2db (two rooms) self catering, shared shower room & kitchen, in Falkland. tel: 07708 587824
Alison Norcross: 1db room / bothy with 1db, in Balmalcolm. tel: 07921 918949

Try searches on Google, AirBnB and for Falkland, Freuchie, Auchtermuchty and Ladybank.

The Bruce Inn, Falkland. (Just across the road from Falkland Palace) & Restaurant.
The Covenanters Hotel, Falkland. (Just up the road from Falkland Palace) & Restaurant.
The Lomond Hills Hotel, Freuchie - now unfortunately closed down.
Pitlessie Village Inn, Pitlessie (Just 4 miles from Freuchie towards Cupar) & Restaurant.
Best Western Balgeddie House Hotel, Glenrothes (4 miles from Freuchie).
Golden Acorn Weatherspoon, Glenrothes (4.7 miles from Freuchie).
Premier Inn, Glenrothes (5 miles from Freuchie)

We have another acccommodation list that includes properties in Freuchie and Falkland
and a bothy and a two berth caravan:
Phone: Peter Shepheard. tel 01337 830773
or email as below


Friday 12 May
The Gathering: (Lumsden Memorial Hall, Freuchie) 8.00pm - 10.30pm
This will be more of a singaround than a concert with songs and ballads from the guest artistes and participants - continuing as:
Singaround: (Freuchie Bowling Club) 10.30pm - 12.30am
An opportunity for more songs, some music and a bar till midnight.

Saturday 13 May
Illustrated Talk: 10.00am - 11.00am
Jo Miller: Traditional songs and singers from Galloway - an area of Scotland that has long been under-represented in the corpus of Scots song.

Illustrated Talk: 11.30am - 12.30pm
Stewart & Anne Brown: Growing up in the city and being part of the folk revival of the 1960s, Stewart and Anne are well placed to talk about: Dundee Tradition - The Singers and the Songs.

Ballad Concert: 2.00pm - 5.00pm
The guests and participants with traditional ballads from their repertoire. The classic big ballads - the muckle sangs.

Festival Dinner: (The Bruce Inn, Falkland) 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Dinner in the historic Bruce Inn opposite Falkland Palace.

Traditional Concert: (Falkland Community Hall) 7.30pm - 10.00pm
Old Songs & Bothy Ballads from the FifeSing Guests.

Singaround: (Back room of The Bruce) 10.30pm - 12.30am
Another chance for all to join in a singaround with songs from their own repertoire.

Sunday 14 May
Lecture: 10.30am - 11.30am
Dr Tom McKean: Who's Listening? Many of the most revered Scottish singers of the past had a narrow, or sometimes no audience. Drawing on the song traditions of Willie Matheson, Lucy Stewart, Elizabeth Stewart, and Lizzie Higgins, Tom McKean explores the relationship between oral song tradition & print, and our understanding of what's performed & communicated in small scale settings.

Interview: 12.00midday - 1.00pm
Jimmy Hutchison & Scott Gardiner: In conversation - with a liberal diet of songs of course - and possibility of some surprises.

Farewell Concert: 2.30pm - 4.30pm
The guest artistes lead a farewell concert.

The FifeSing events are run by
The East of Scotland Traditional Song Group
(Committee: Peter Shepheard, Jimmy Hutchison, Chris Miles)
Contact us at:
Peter Shepheard, Balmalcolm House, Balmalcolm, Cupar, Fife KY15 7TJ
tel: 00 44 (0)1337 830773
Also see our Facebook page:
FifeSing Facebook.