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 10-12 May 2024
Updated 5 May 2024 (v43)

Fife Traditional Singing Festival 2024

Friday 10 May to Sunday 12 May 2024
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.

Guests so far:
Ted Poletyllo // Martin Carthy // Natalie Chalmers
Allan Taylor // Ellen Mitchell // Vic Gammon


Very sad news. Joe Aitken has passed away after a short period in hospital. Joe has been a stalwart of the Scottish traditional song and bothy ballad world for many years - a great upholder of Scotland’s traditional song and Bothy Ballad traditions. Winner of many singing competitions including becoming Bothy Ballad “Champion of Champions” at Elgin for a seventh year in 2020, Joe has been a guest on many occasions at TMSA festivals and at the FifeSing Traditional Singing Festival (where he was to have been a guest again this year). Joe's funeral was on Tuesday 16 April in Kirriemuir.

The Festival Dinner will be in The Covenanter Hotel just up the road from the Falkland Palace. If you wish to book for the dinner then you need to add the Festival Dinner to your booking and make your menu choice on the Online Booking Form below. DINNER NOW FULL

If you have not booked in for the Festival Dinner then there is a great selection of eating places within a few miles: The Kettlebridge Inn (2 miles), the Pitlessie Village Inn (4 miles), the excellent and expensive Boar's Head in Auchtermuchty (4 miles) and several restaurants in Cupar (8 miles). The Lomond Hills Hotel in Freuchie is not yet reopened, the Bruce Inn and the Stag in Falkland are both currently closed.

The use of the Cricket Ground for Camper Vans may not be possible this year - the ground is currently too wet. HOWEVER - the new owners of the Lomond Hills Hotel (to open quite soon) is happy to allow a few Camper Vans to use the Car Park behind the hote - right in the centre of Freuchie close to the Lumsden Memorial Hall.

The Buffet Lunches on Saturday and Sunday are provided as last year in the Lumsden Memorial Hall in Freuchie just beside the excellent Albert Tavern - noted for its ales and whiskies.

Albert Tavern


Please download the Online Booking Form by clicking ONLINE BOOKING FORM.

or click for Full Brochure with Manual Booking Form

Festival Brochure

Our ticket prices are the same as last year

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 in the Lumsden Memorial Hall
Saturday morning Workshops/Talks: £8
Saturday afternoon Ballad Concert: £10
Festival Dinner (The Covenanters, 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 by BACS direct to our bank.
Send booking form by post or as an email attachment
with a note of how you have paid.
If you have difficuty with the online Booking Form just send us payment (by cheque or BACS) with a note of your name(s) and what you are booking.

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

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

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 (still closed). 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 (limited booking) will be in The Covenanters in Falkland. Make your menu selection on the booking form with options to suit vegan and vegetarian preferences.

Please download the Online Booking Form by clicking BOOKING FORM.


Ted Poletyllo // Martin Carthy // Natalie Chalmers
Allan Taylor // Ellen Mitchell // Vic Gammon

Ted Poletyllo
was born in St. Andrews (Craigton) 1949, he is one of Scotland's finest traditional singers and has won several of the TMSA’s singing competitions. Now living in Glenrothes he was, until he retired, events coordinator at Dalhousie Hall in the University. In 2022 he was Winner of Sandy Watt Quaich (for the third time) at the annual competition held by the Glenfarg Folk Club in the Memorial Hall in Gateside, Fife. Ted has been a great admirer of the traveller singers that he met at festivals, particularly the Auchtermuchty Festival in the 1980s, including Duncan Willamson, Willie McPhee and Betsy White - and he sings several songs learnt from their singing.

Martin Carthy MBE, born May 1941, is one of English folk music’s most influential singer/songwriters inspiring the likes of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon as well as Richard Thompson. He is a master of the guitar and also plays the banjo, mandolin and dulcimer, performing traditional songs in his own unique and distinctive style. Twice a winner of the BBC Radio Folk awards Folk singer of the Year, Martin won their Lifetime Achievement award in 2014. He is associated with many names during his long career from Redd Sullivan to Dave Swarbrick, the Watersons to Steeleye Span and Brass Monkey and of course with his family the late Norma Waterson and daughter Eliza Carthy. But it is his love of unadulterated traditional song that shines through it all, inspired in his creativity by the older generation of traditional singers he has known. See:

Natalie Chalmers, from Fraserburgh, started singing Traditional songs and Bothy Ballads at concerts and festivals when only 7 years old, when her sister Gillian was competing and playing the bagpipes. After winning at junior and senior level, Natalie was proud to be only the third woman to qualify in 2012 for the Elgin “Champion of Champions.” After taking lessons from the great North East traditional singers Elizabeth Stewart and Stanley Robertson, she spent two years at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton before returning to University in Aberdeen. Although she now works in Glasgow, Natalie is on the committee of the Aberdeen branch of the TMSA and is co-host with Allan Taylor of “Trad Time with the TMSA” on Keith Community Radio – dedicated to keeping the song and bothy ballad traditions of the North East alive – and nominated last year as “Scots Project of the Year.” Natalie is an enthusiast for her native Doric and was recently crowned Scots Performer of the Year at the 2023 Scots Language Awards.

Allan Taylor was raised hearing traditional music and song in Tornaveen in rural Aberdeenshire, He entered the Buchan Heritage Society competitions in 2006 and quickly got involved with the Traditional Music and Song Association in Aberdeen and is currently chair of the Aberdeen branch. Allan has developed a wide repertoire of North East song from traditional ballads and Bothy Ballads to comic songs, and he has taken second prize at the annual Champion of Champions’ Bothy Ballad Competition held each year in Elgin. Along with Joe Aitken and Geordie Murison they sang as ‘The Bothy Boys’. He has been co-host with Natalie Chalmers of “Trad Time with the TMSA” on Keith Community Radio.

Ellen Mitchell was born in Glasgow. Although there was music in her family - she remembers a great aunt rattling out tunes on her granny’s piano, her father’s enthusiasm for classical music and jazz and an uncle who was in a skiffle group - but it was the discovery of folk clubs and festivals that gave her an enthusiasm for traditional song. She has recorded for the Musical Traditions label (in a double CD along with her late husband Kevin) and has been a guest at several festivals including Whitby and Auchtermuchty and at the National Festival in England. She has taken part in competitions run by the TMSA and won three of these (the first being with the songs Twa Brithers and The Birken Tree). And of course Ellen is one of our favourite singers and was a guest at an earlier FifeSing festivsl in 2008.

Vic Gammon is a performer of English traditional music (singer, anglo concertina, and melodeon) a writer, researcher and member of the Editorial Board of the Folk Music Journal. He has also composed music for a number of stage and radio plays and has performed in various groups including The Etchingham Steam Band with Shirley Collins in the 1970s and currently with Dearman, Gammon and Harrison whose CD 'Black Crow/White Crow' was issued by the English Folk Dance and Song Society. His anthology album 'The Tale of Ale' (Free Reed Records) is considered a classic and has been reissued a number of times since it was first released in 1977. Vic retired in 2019 as director of the Folk Music Course at the International Centre for Music Studies at the University of Newcastle. Vic has been with us on many occasions at FifeSing both the ‘live’ event and at the Zoom Gatherings and we welcome him this year where he will be presenting a talk on the ballad Barbara Allen – perhaps the most widely known and popular of all the Child Ballads.


The Lomond Hills Hotel in Freuchie is still closed.
The following is a list of some of the possible local accommodations.
Availability and prices are not given - just phone to enquire.

Rae & Dave: Small Studio in Falkland. View. To book tel: 07977595709

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 Covenanters Hotel, Falkland. (Just up the road from Falkland Palace) & Restaurant.
The Lomond Hills Hotel, Freuchie - now still closed.
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)

Friday 10 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 11 May
Illustrated Talk: 10.00am - 11.00am
Vic Gammon: Barbara Allan: The great ballad scholar Bertrand Bronson wrote that it was ‘strange that a song about a pair with such an alacrity in dying should have so tenacious a hold on life!’ In this presentation Vic Gammon will consider the long history of this hugely popular song, illustrated by performances, ballad sheets and pictures.

Interview: 11.30am - 12.30pm
Natalie Chalmers: Chris Miles talks with Natalie about her influences and enthusiasm for Scots song and the Doric and her award as Scots Performer of the Year 2023..

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 Covenanters, Falkland) 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Dinner in the historic Covenanters Hotel just up the road from Falkland Palace.

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

Singaround: (The Covenanters) 10.30pm - 12.00am
Another chance for a singaround with songs from their own repertoire.

Sunday 12 May
Conversation: 10.30am - 11.30am
Martin Carthy: Jimmy Hutchison talks with Martin about his love of song, his many years of making music and the singers and musicians he has known.

Presentation: 12.00midday - 1.00pm
To be agreed.

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.