Bute songwriting festival hopes to strike a chord with islanders

Butesong 2019 poster.
Butesong 2019 poster.

Songwriting festival Butesong returns to the island this month following last year’s inaugural event, with organisers hoping to see more locals.

Butesong, formerly known as Port Fest,took place in Rothesay last February. The previous incarnation of the festival ran for five years in Portpartick. The two-day music festival, celebrating the art of songwriting, will return to the Glenburn Hotel on February 22 and 23, with Chris Difford of Squeeze, Roddy Woomble, formerly of Idlewild, chart topper Boo Hewerdine, Jill Jackson and Ivor Novello nominee Nerina Pallot among the acts.

JJ Gilmour.

JJ Gilmour.

Organiser JJ Gilmour, who himself will once again take to the stage at Butesong, was delighted with how the event went on its Bute debut last year, but he admitted he hopes to see more locals enjoying the music this year.

He said: “It was really good last year. One of the things that troubled me slightly was that we never had a lot of locals there. It just seemed a bit weird that we couldn’t get the locals on board. But other than that it was great.

“I’m hoping to get more locals along this year. With the quality of what we bring in we hope more people come along from the island.

“They should come along because we have got an abundance of great singer-songwriters on show.

Adriana Spina.

Adriana Spina.

“To have someone like Chris Difford – a two time Ivor Novello Award winner and up for a Grammy this year – it’s really quite something. Squeeze were just a phenomenal band, so that’s a massive reason to come. Closely followed by guys like Boo Hewerdine, who wrote Patience of Angels, which was sung by Edi Reader.

“We also have young guys like Roddy Woomble, who have got a lot to say. Nerina Pallot, another great hit maker.

“And I will be bringing a bunch of guys in my band, from a member of Wet Wet Wet to the drummer from Texas. So there are a lot of good reasons to come and check it out. It will be a really enjoyable weekend.”

JJ also hopes to find more young singer songwriters on Bute. He said: “One of the things we were looking for as well was some young local talent. We had Beth Swan last year but we couldn’t find anyone this year.

Nerina Pallot.

Nerina Pallot.

“We had to fill the space this year but in the future we want to get local talent in.

“It would be good to even meet some young local singer-songwriters this year. To find out what they are doing and how their songwriting is progressing. I’d encourage them to get in touch, email me at jjgilmour@icloud.com.

“Beth was great last year, there must be another young songwriter out there on Bute.”

JJ hopes to bring the festival to Bute more than once a year. He said: “Its the same set-up this year. Take in all the sites and smells of Bute, people loved it they really did.

Boo Hewerdine.

Boo Hewerdine.

“All the artists and fans thought it was an amazing place. It’s a great set-up at the Glenburn. It just to me screams ‘singer-songwriter’. It’s a good listening room.

“Obviously last year we had Rab Noakes etc, people that have really tread the boards in singer-songwriter clubs for years and they all thought it was brilliant. It’s a great place.

“We would love to continue with this festival and maybe do it twice a year.”

For Butesong tickets, go to www.seetickets.com/tour/butesong-2019.