World War One theme for Mearns Connections

The Mearns Connections Festival at the Grassic Gibbon Centre, started in the Year of the Homecoming in 2009, celebrates its sixth anniversary.

It is one of the few Homecoming events that has survived and the festival has done much to raise the profile of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Joan Eardley and Robert Burns and establish their very tangible connections with the Mearns.

This year, the festival theme of the “First World War” highlights the effect the conflict had on the people of the Mearns and the reference to this in Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s world famous novel, Sunset Song.

The festival opens with an Oatmeal Supper on Friday August 8, with entertainment from the renowned North -east singer and entertainer Robert Lovie along with the 2008 Glenfiddich fiddle champion Raemond Jappy and legendary Scottish folksinger, songwriter and humorist Tich Frier.

The festival chairman, Jim Brown, will host the supper.

On Saturday, August 9, the popular Ballad Bus will set off from the centre at 10.30am to travel around the memorials erected in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

The bus will travel from Inverbervie to Fettercairn and Laurencekirk to Gourdon and other places in between.

This will be an educational and entertaining trip around the Mearns with local personalities and musicians to entertain along the way.

A booklet will also be available on the bus with pictures, poetry and stories about the Mearns War Memorials.

On Saturday evening at 7.30, the festival will continue with Scottish legend, Jimmie Macgregor, who will entertain with an evening of songs, stories and photographs telling the story of the Scottish-American naturalist John Muir in his show entitled “John Muir Wilderness Guardian.” This is the second occasion Jimmie has entertained at the centre and it is through popular request that he returns this year.

Finally, on Sunday, August 10, at 9am the festival moves to the historic Arbuthnott Church for a special service by the  Rev Dennis Rose when there will be musical items from him and Lorna Collie. 

After the service all attendees are invited for tea and shortbread at the centre.

Grassic Gibbon was hugely influenced by the Great War which is illustrated in his writing. The Mearns Connections festival has carefully chosen its performers to acknowledge this.

Tickets for all events are available from the Grassic Gibbon Centre on 01561 361668.