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Help Badenoch's Storylands live happily ever after!


By Tom Ramage

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After a funding blow, Badenoch’s renowned Storylands Sessions are appealing for support.

The popular cultural and heritage project that brings the community together in music, storytelling, poetry and song has suffered a second knock back from Creative Scotland.

Once upon a time? The campaign is on now to keep the story going
Once upon a time? The campaign is on now to keep the story going

The Storylands Sessions, co-hosted by musician Hamish Napier and writer Merryn Glover, were relying on renewed funding from Scotland’s arts body to take the project into 2024 –but both their application attempts this year have been refused which throws the future of the sessions into doubt.

Determined to keep the successful project going, the team are launching a sponsorship programme and inviting businesses and individuals to come on board.

“We are gutted by this setback,” said Mrs Glover, “but it reflects a huge crisis in arts funding across the country. Creative Scotland acknowledges the value and success of the Storylands Sessions but don’t have enough cash to go round. This project means so much to everyone involved that we are committed to sustaining it, by hook or by crook.

“We are grateful for current funding through the Cairngorms Trust up till February, and more from the Cairngorms National Park Authority to keep us afloat for a month or so after that but then we drop off a cliff. We really need as much support as possible pledged as soon as possible to know we can keep going.”

Stepping out with Storylands: a recent ceilidh at Newtonmore
Stepping out with Storylands: a recent ceilidh at Newtonmore

The Storylands Sessions are centred on two monthly community concerts at Loch Insh’s Ptarmigan Dome. The back-to-back shows draw a sell-out crowd ranging from pre-school children to folks in their 90s.

Performances include the full age range playing pipes, clasarch, fiddle, whistle, flute, piano and guitar as well as singing in English, Gaelic and Scots.

Storytelling includes local legends, folktales from around the world and personal stories, while the poetry explores themes as diverse as the participants.

Evenings have also included stand up comedy, visual art, film, step dancing from local group Dannsa, and song from the Badenoch Waulking Group.

It’s all supported by workshops in both music and writing and celebrated in the end-of-year ceilidh in Newtonmore Village Hall.

Stepping out with Storylands: a recent ceilidh at Newtonmore
Stepping out with Storylands: a recent ceilidh at Newtonmore

Because the sessions are committed to free places for under 18s and low income ticket rates, they need to be subsidised. The team are now reaching out to the community – and beyond – for sponsorship to keep this vibrant and vital project going.

Mrs Glover said: “Sponsoring the sessions will help us cover the costs of venue hire, equipment, publicity, fees and travel expenses.

“It will also help us reach more people and make our events more accessible and affordable. In return, sponsors will receive recognition and appreciation from us and our audience, as well as exposure for their business through our website, social media, newsletter and posters, as well as special mention at our events.”

There are options for every budget from £150 to sponsor a special guest at the monthly Late Show, to Diamond level giving.

All the details, including the rewards, are available here


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