This year’s competition which takes place this Wednesday has some 25 or so entries – fairly well up on last year’s competition when there was a mere 18 hopefuls.  Well done everyone who has entered and best of luck on the night!

There’s a jury vote (see below) and an audience vote. The prizes are, in time-honoured reverse order … 3rd / £30, 2nd / £50 and 1st / £100. The winner has their name engraved on the cup. And, the audience vote-winner receives a quaich engraved with their name and the song title.

The judges for this year’s song writing competition will be Jim Weatherston, who performs with local groups Ragged Glory and Fairmile journalist, Neil Hedgeland, now resident in Edinburgh for several years. Neil began to visit Edinburgh from London around the time of the early Edinburgh Folk Festival in the 1980s to write for FRoots. Leith Folk Club’s booker, Marianne Doig, completes this year’s panel.

Over the years of the competition there have been some well-known winners of the competition. Although she didn’t win in 1976, Nancy Nicolson won in 1977 and 1978. Ian Walker’s “Hawks and Doves” (1985) has entered the repertoires of several performers. In 1986, Robin Laing won with, “Isle of Eigg”. Jim Malcolm was on the top step in 1990 with, “Grandfathers”, and again in 1991 with “Achiltibuie”.

Haddington’s Davie Robertson won in 1998 and 2004.

In 1999, showing early promise, Karine Polwart came away with “Whaur Dae Ye Lie?” Stevie Palmer lifted it in 2005 with “Rise Up Singing” while a run of three years saw well-known performers scoop the prize – Sharon King (2011), “Darling Pal Of Mine”, Tom Clelland (2012), “Dig” and Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis (2013), “If I Should Meet My Maker”.

Our first winner in 1976 was the late Sheila Douglas with “O Mither, Mither”. That year the judges were Hamish Henderson, Ray Fisher and Alastair Clark – all four now sadly dead! In second place came Nancy Nicolson – still very much alive today.

Summerhall EH9 1PL, Wednesday 17th May at 8:00pm

Doors/Bar open 7:30pm

Tickets £10 (Non-members), £9 (Concessions), £7 (EFC Members) from Summerhall Box Office


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