Two Fairs: Tranquil Traquair and the Wild Wickerman

Catherine Maxwell Stuart prepares for this year’s Traquair Fair

For those looking for an alternative way of spending this coming weekend, the South of Scotland could be the place to look. There are two contrasting events taking place (though both do have a musical theme).

In the tranquil setting of Traquair House near Innerleithen, this year’s Traquair Fair looks back to the 1960s for its theme.

Traquair - the oldest inhabited house in Scotland
Traquair – the oldest inhabited house in Scotland
On show will be an exhibition of 60s designer fashion – and an appearance by two of the era’s most iconic bands, The Troggs and The Animals, will help to reinforce the era of nostalgia. Around 30 garments, including some produced by Borders-based designers such as Pringle and Bernat Klein, will be on display – indeed, some will be worn by models to show off the classic lines.

The fair has a reputation for being a family-friendly event, with a mixture of street theatre, country crafts and music in the grounds. This year’s programme includes a lot for children with an appearance by the 60s comic book hero, Spiderman. In a special children’s area, storytellers will read from classic children’s books from the 1960s. And for the adults, the event will also feature a special screening of the 1969 movie “Tamlin” which were shot on location at Traquair.

The fair organiser, Catherine Maxwell Stuart, explained that the decision to use designer fashion, top bands, film and street entertainment has been designed to “create a fun-filled event that will appeal to the whole family. Traquair Fair is renowned for being one of Scotland’s most exciting family days out and this year, we will be bringing alive one of the most vibrant periods in our recent history. We look forward to welcoming visitors from the Borders and beyond to this fantastic event.”

By contrast, those who prefer camping in a field when attending a music festival will be able to enjoy the delights of this year’s Wickerman Festival, held at Dundrennan near Kirkcudbright.

The Wickerman Festival - Music in Kirkcudbright
The Wickerman Festival – Music in Kirkcudbright
The organisers insist that it’s more than just a music festival – “it’s an adventure to the south of Scotland where you’re likely to meet new friends and find your new favourite act in the same weekend. Set in the glorious Kirkcudbrightshire countryside with views across the county and out of the sea to the Isle of Man, it’s breathtaking. Back to the music, there are 10 stages on the site with music playing from midday until 5 AM should you have the stamina.”

Amongst the acts performing include Primal Scream, Amy Macdonald, Public Service Broadcasting and KT Tunstall. Because the festival takes its name from the iconic film – The Wickerman – the organisers say that it would not be a true Wickerman Festival “if we didn’t set something on fire – if you want to see what, either at midnight on Saturday and you won’t be disappointed.”

This year, the festival has done a promotional deal with the Scottish website, Kiltr, in which members have the chance to win tickets to the event. All you need to do is give the best reason for why you want to go – but you need to hurry as the draw will take place tonight.