New arts festival success
A BRAW beginning
The brand new It’s BRAW festival in Blairgowrie and Rattray had a riproaring week.
Blairgowrie and Rattray Arts Week (BRAW) began on Monday, October 9, and closed on Sunday.
This new event evolved around the Rattray Arts Festival, which for the last eight or so years has taken place over the August bank holiday weekend.
It was decided that, rather than it being staged in one venue over a weekend, it would be good to experiment with featuring a range of activities and venues over seven days.
Lesley McDonald and Tina Gliddon, who took on the Rattray Arts Festival last year when founder Johanna Frampton stepped down after seven years at the helm, were behind plans for the new event.
Lesley and artists Tina, Ella Stewart and Anick Pitcher, along with Tracie Dick from the Create @ Nest venture in Blairgowrie, have
been delighted at the expanded vision that has been BRAW in this first outing.
Lesley said: “The idea was that by coordinating dates with the BOOKMARK festival we offered visitors to the area even more of an attractive destination that will hopefully encourage them to stay in the area for even longer.” One of the new events was a Murder Mystery evening, staged at her restaurant Cargill’s Bistro. Lesley said: “We were delighted to have the team at Create @ Nest in Blairgowrie’s Reform Street involved with a range of craft workshops during the week. “We had everything from weaving with Ashleigh Slater to needle felting with Sarah Urie, drawing, fused glass, as well as upcycling, silver ring making and printing techniques.” Tina said the take-up was as she had expected for a debut year. She continued: “Like you’d assume with so many of these things, people have had to adjust to the change of date from August bank holiday to a full week in the tattie holidays. “We wanted to do something when local schoolchildren were free but we have found that many families took the school break as an opportunity to go away so the young element has actually been lacking a bit. We had to scrap the children’s play due to lack of numbers. It’s a lesson learnt.
“On the up side,” Tina added, “the workshops geared more for adults have done really well. Some have been completely booked up.
“We had Hailey Mills’ drawing and painting session full on Tuesday and Tom Barron’s oil painting workshop was a big draw.
“Ricky Pitcher’s silverworking session on Monday was popular too.”
On top of arts and crafts workshops BRAW also put on a traditional music night in the Balmoral, and a quiz.
On Thursday night the Blairgowrie Players reprised their performance of ‘The Arrow’, which was also performed as part of BOOKMARK, and on Saturday night the popular Coaltown Daisies and local duo Jordan Fox and Callum McHoul rocked Blairgowrie Town Hall.
The weekend then shifted focus to the Rattray Arts Festival, housed at Rattray Church Hall.
The weather held up for the most part, encouraging people to explore autumn art opportunities , and organisers are talking of building on this good start, already making plans to do it again next year.
Lesley McDonald Destination
Detailed Crafts and traditional skills on show
Busy Irene Wishart and Mhairi Shand with their work
Needlecraft The was a variety of workshops
Good start BRAW will be bigger next year
Silver Ella Stewart with class tutor Ricky Pitcher
Intricate Some of the work on display
Skills Tutor Sarah Urie with Kate Bruce