BIGF hits all the right notes

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THE public may not have attended the inaugural Bute International Guitar Festival in quite the numbers that had been hoped - but those who did attend were united in their praise for a weekend full of superb live music across a huge variety of styles.

Among the biggest names on the bill were Scottish folk legend Dick Gaughan, who held his audience spellbound at Friday evening’s launch concert at Mount Stuart with the quality of his playing and his wry and trenchant observations on life; and Texan guitarist Rodney Branigan, whose party trick is playing two guitars at once, but who proved more than adept with a single instrument under his control too.

Other high points from the festival weekend included the triumph of 13-year-old Ben Doherty from Dunoon in the open mic contest which ran throughout Saturday, with a set which included covers of hits by artists as diverse as Jim Hendrix and Dean Martin; the all-too-brief appearance of Cousti, the Scots-Americana five-piece ensemble who have already won the endorsement of no less a figure than ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris; and appearances by local artists including Tammy Currie, Robert ‘Fluff’ Murray, Acousticrat and George McDonald with his bluegrass group Appalachian Mist.

Paul Templeman from the BIGF organising committee said: “Although we were seriously disappointed with the level of local support, we got loads of positive feedback from those who did attend as well as from the musicians, who all had a fantastic time.

“The festival brought in excess of three hundred visitors to Bute from as far afield as Switzerland, Cornwall, Kent and Inverness, and in artistic terms we’re treating the event as a success.”