Speyfest reveals line-up for reboot of event to mark its 25th birthday

One of Scotland's longest-running music festivals has announced plans for a comeback to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Speyfest was first staged in Fochabers, in Moray, in 1995.
Speyfest was first staged in Fochabers, in Moray, in 1995.

Speyfest will be staged in Fochabers, in Moray, for the first time in three years when its much-loved “tented village” returns to the banks of the River Spey.

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Skerryvore, Elephant Sessions and Rura will be among the leading the Scottish trad and Celtic bands appearing at the three-day event in July.

Concerts, ceilidhs, sessions, a craft fair, a food and drink fair, children’s activities and a Church service will all be part of the rebooted festival’s programme, which also feature music and singing workshops for people of all ages.

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    The festival, which has had to delay its 25th birthday party by two years due to the pandemic, started out in a small tent for just 300 people in 1995 but has grown to boast a site capacity of 1500 in recent years.

    Other acts confirmed for the 2022 line-up include musical double acts Anna Massie and Mairearad Green, and Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham, fiddler Bruce Macgregor, singer Claire Hastings and local favourites James Alexander, Tour Bus Fortune, and Colin Campbell.

    Speyfest is one of many Scottish music festivals forced to pull the plug in 2020 and 2021 due to the impact of Covid restrictions.

    Others due to return next year include the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, in Beauly, near Inverness, the Shetland and Orkney folk festivals, Skye Live and the Eilean Dorcha Festival, in Benbecula.

    Speyfest is due to return to Fochabers in July of next year.

    The Hebridean Celtic Festival, on the Isle of Lewis, which went ahead in a scaled-back hybrid form earlier this year, is also planned to return with a full programme.

    An announcecment about the return of Speyfest said: “Hosted in the event’s pop-up tented village by the picturesque banks of the River Spey, Speyfest will transform Fochabers into a haven of music and culture in July.

    “With a limited number of early bird tickets on sale now, the Celtic music festival makes a

    welcome return after plans for the 2020 and 2021 editions were put on hold due to the pandemic.”

    Elephant Sessions will be among the bands returning to Speyfest next year.

    Speyfest chairman James Alexander said: “We’re overjoyed to see the much-awaited return of Speyfest.

    "We’ve been itching to get our 25th anniversary celebrations underway for some time and we’re so excited to be back in full voice for 2022 with a fantastic line up, including some spectacular headliners, on the menu.

    “We can’t wait to welcome our loyal Speyfesters who normally attend year on year back to Fochabers for a festival to remember - it will be an emotional moment for us all.

    “Audiences and performers can rest assured their safety will be at the forefront of our planning for 2022.”

    Kevin MacDonald, who plays with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, said: “Speyfest is a Scottish festival that holds a dear place in our hearts, having played it many times over the years.

    "It’s brilliant to see it return and to be able to headline once again.

    "Next year marks our own 20th anniversary and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than at one of our favourite festivals marking their own special milestone.

    "We are looking forward to giving the Fochabers crowd a festival to remember and make sure the 25th Speyfest celebrations go off in style.”