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Trad choices

My 2022 (was 2021) itinerary includes two nights in Inverness, but I'm thinking rather than heading back to Inverness for the second night from Culloden/Clava, I might just head to Dunkeld, since I hear it's a good place for trad music (Taybank, maybe?) and our next day is heading to Edinburgh anyway, so we'll have more time for The Hermitage and Stirling Caslte with the head start. Of course with only one night in Inverness, I'll need to choose between Gelions and Hootanannys.


Posted by
8672 posts

I can't believe I'm posting on your thread because I'm not a big fan of trad music but on my Best of Scotland tour our guide took us to MacGregor's in Inverness to listen to music. She brought her fiddle along and joined in.

Posted by
941 posts

Hi, jjgurley,

You didn't mention when you'll be travelling, but music at The Gellions tends to start later (about 9:30 p.m.), so you could check out what's happening at Hootenanny, and if it's not to your liking, you could pop around the corner to The Gellions.

You also didn't specify if by trad music you meant instrumentals, songs, or a combination of the two. If you meant the singing tradition, then if Davy Holt or Caman (Davy with Stuart MacKintosh) are at the Gellions, you'll be in for a good night. Davy does a lot of trad and contemporary songs, and has a wide knowledge of Scottish music. He takes requests, so don't be afraid to ask!

If Schiehallion are performing, you'll be in for a wild night. They have at least one piper in the band. The above mentioned Stuart MacKintosh performs with Schiehallion as well. One of their "Big" numbers is "Scotland Forever," which was written by the much maligned Tommy Scott. I think their version is somewhere on YouTube.

You might want to check out Living Tradition magazine as you get closer to your holiday. They're fairly dormant right now, due to the virus, but they have listings of concerts and sessions throughout Scotland on the website. You could also check the listings of folk clubs in Scotland to find out if there are any concerts or sessions you can attend on your way south. You should also be able to catch a session or two at Sandy Bell's in Edinburgh.

Good luck, and enjoy the music!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
115 posts

I'm planning for mid-June 2020. I was only in Scotland once before (back in the 90's) and it was early May, so we didn't find much music. I don't know that much about Scottish trad, but I'm hoping I'll like most versions as much as I like trad Irish. I tend to like sweeter stuff, but my wife loves a whirling dervish of drummers and pipers.

I already had Sandy Bell's and/or Whiski on our plan. I also had the Friday Ghillie-Due , which I'd be happy to hear opinions on. I was thinking it might be redundant after the Oban Ceilidh.

Posted by
5581 posts

There is great traditional music in both places. I've not been to MacGregors, but if they are getting Duncan Chisholm to play some sessions I may have to add it to my itinerary! . The last few times I've been in the North I've headed straight to the Black Isle. I may have to rethink! But I would also recommend The Taybank.

I think I would delay my decision. If we're still in Covid land when you go or still have some restrictions, the Taybank is going to have more outdoor opportunities. Also, if you haven't check it out, look at the Gig Guide. When things get going again that will be a great source of information on live music.

Posted by
1014 posts

We tried Hootananny and it was ok. We liked Johnny Foxes better. Better atmosphere and great band both nights. Food was good too.