Glas­gow Let­ter

The Oban Times - - Leisure - ROBERT ROBERT­SON robert.d.robert­son@hot­

Glas­gow in Lori­ent

As I write this week’s Glas­gow Let­ter, I am sit­ting here in Lori­ent at the In­ter­cel­tique Fes­ti­val and bask­ing in a won­der­ful Euro­pean heat­wave with the sound of the Bom­barde (a tra­di­tional Bre­ton bag­pipe) ca­ress­ing my ears in its own unique and un­avoid­able fash­ion.

In such cir­cum­stances, it can some­times be dif­fi­cult to turn my mind to what is hap­pen­ing in Glas­gow and, this week, I have been hav­ing a par­tic­u­lar strug­gle find­ing a suit­able Glas­gow sub­ject about which to write.

As I sat in the back­stage area of the Scot­tish pavil­ion and stared blankly at my lap­top, the rea­son for my strug­gle sud­denly hit me: the ma­jor­ity of the Glas­gow mu­sic scene were, in fact, sit­ting right un­der my nose here in Brit­tany.

Blasta, Blazin’ Fid­dles, Bre­abach, Ele­phant Ses­sions, Fara, Hò-rò, Ross Ains­ley and Ali Hut­ton, So­phie Stephen­son, Talisk, and Tan­nara are all acts whose mem­bers can of­ten be found in bars in the West End of Glas­gow play­ing a tune.

I can only imag­ine that bars such as the Ben Ne­vis and the Lis­more are a lit­tle qui­eter this week while such mu­si­cians have swapped Fin­nieston and

Partick for baguettes and bom­bardes.

Beesnees Me­dia, based in Glas­gow, are over here film­ing for BBC Alba - so a lot of the events will be doc­u­mented for au­di­ences back home. Even my own flat­mate is here with Beesnees.

It re­ally does feel like a Scot­tish in­va­sion of Lori­ent and as though much of the Glas­gow folk scene has up­rooted, headed to France, and car­ried on busi­ness as usual for the week.

The or­gan­is­ers of ‘the year of Scot­land’ have done a fantastic job in or­gan­is­ing such an in­va­sion.

We do, of course, have com­pany out here. Ev­ery year, about 900,000 peo­ple de­scend upon Lori­ent for the nine- day fes­ti­val and this year is ap­par­ently the busiest yet.

It is hard to imag­ine such an im­mense num­ber of peo­ple un­til you phys­i­cally try to get from A to B in time for an in­ter­view and get caught in the huge and im­pen­e­tra­ble throng of crowds - as I have dis­cov­ered to my detri­ment a num­ber of times so far.

Ev­ery sec­ond per­son in the town (no mat­ter what na­tion­al­ity) is be­decked in tar­tan, which makes for an in­cred­i­ble spec­ta­cle. The Bre­tons have their own kilt and tar­tan tra­di­tion.

Yes­ter­day, I even spot­ted a gen­tle­man wear­ing a Glas­gow War­riors rugby top on top of his kilt.

As­sum­ing I had bumped into a Glaswe­gian, I ex­plained that I lived in Glas­gow and asked if he was a reg­u­lar at­tendee to watch the War­riors at Scot­stoun.

‘Je suis des­olé,’ he replied. ‘I do not un­der­stand English.’

What’s on

Thurs­day Au­gust 10: Pipe Idol - the grand fi­nal at 5pm in the Strath­clyde Suite of the Glas­gow Royal Con­cert Hall. Fri­day Au­gust 11: The Peat­bog Faeries and Jose Manuel Te­je­dor Trio at 7.30pm in the Dry­gate Brew­ery. Over-18s only. Satur­day Au­gust 12: The Af­ter Worlds Shindig Cèilidh at 9pm in the Na­tional Pip­ing Centre.

Pub scene

Park Bar. Fri­day: Scott Har­vey. Satur­day: Dun Mòr. Sun­day: World Pipe Band Cham­pi­onships Hang­over Cure. Is­lay Inn. Fri­day Au­gust 11: Gunna Sound.

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