Free music, workshops & Highland grown produce in Alness this summer as part of nationwide project.
A summer of free workshops, music and home-grown food is the order of the day thanks to a special project between arts organisation, Fèis Rois, and Alness youth club, The Place, as part of Dandelion.
Festival in The Field will be hosted at the Unexpected Garden in Alness this summer with a host of outdoor workshops and live music from some of Scotland’s top musicians.
Audiences can sample some free food made with produce from the garden and there will also be a chance for the local community to get their hands dirty and join the garden team.
The Unexpected Garden in The Field, Teaninich Industrial Estate, Alness, is part of Dandelion – a six-month creative celebration of growing, music and community – rooted in Scotland but with an international outlook, and with sustainability at its heart.
Dandelion follows the arc of the growing season, from April to September 2022, culminating with hundreds of Harvest events across Scotland.
It is commissioned by EventScotland, funded by Scottish Government as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.
Dingwall-based traditional arts organisation, Fèis Rois, and The Place Youth Club have collaborated to transform The Place’s existing outdoor space, The Field, into a place which can be enjoyed by the whole community.
Festival in The Field starts on the 16th July and will take place on six Saturdays throughout the summer (16th July, 6th,13th, 20th,27th Aug, 10th Sept) finishing with a harvest event on the 10th September where local young people will put together a special menu for the community, using produce from the garden.
At each event there will be food, music and workshops from 12pm – 4.30pm, with performances from the likes of Duncan Chisholm, Rachel Hair, Corrina Hewat and Dave Milligan, Fras, Mairearad Green, TradBeats and Jennifer Port.
Workshops include Woodland Adventures for P4-7 children where they can learn how to build a rope ladder or create musical instruments out of sticks and branches; learn about the different crops and seeds being planted in the Garden at Seed Stories; Musical Maps with the Unexpected Garden musician-in-residence, Liam Ross, will give participants the chance to create a soundscape using various musical instruments; learn some step-dancing, body percussion and beat boxing with TradBeats, a feisty fusion of traditional Gaelic song and contemporary hip-hop grooves; well-known local storyteller, Lizzie MacDougall, will share her wonderful stories during Wee Stories; or try your hand at floral printmaking, clarsach, straw plaiting or even tomato tasting!
On Sunday 11th September, there will be a special Voices In Bloom workshop with renowned singer and musician, Corrina Hewat.
Corrina will lead a harmony singing workshop, focusing on songs related to the environment and nature.
There will also be weekly events taking place throughout the summer including Grow In The Field on Thursdays; a chance for adults to get involved in some gardening, and Youth In The Field on Fridays; drop-in sessions for secondary school children, providing them the opportunity to learn about the veggies growing in the garden and try their hand at making pizza with toppings grown in the garden!
There will be two Question and Answer sessions, 28th July and 25th August, to give any budding gardeners the chance to ask any burning questions whilst also enjoying some music and a free lunch of soup and salads from the garden.
These sessions will be led by Fèis the Music, a group of adult learners who came together through the Fèis Rois lifelong learning project.
Fiona Dalgetty, Chief Executive, Fèis Rois, commented:
“This has been an incredible project to work on; collaborating with so many different individuals and groups to provide local communities with events and opportunities, whilst also leaving the legacy of the Unexpected Garden at The Field in Alness.
“I am delighted that Fèis Rois is involved with Dandelion and bringing live music back after the last 2.5 years.
“This project has not only allowed us to put on events for the community but has also provided paid work opportunities for freelance musicians and creative practitioners across the Highlands and further afield.”
Josh Hutchison, Youth worker, The Place, added:
“The Unexpected Garden has turned our Field into something really special.
“Having the garden in The Field has offered many new and exciting opportunities for our community with many new faces through our gates, eager to come together and get involved in what’s happening.
“The project has not only created an amazing community asset for our town, but the team has also gone above and beyond to create workshops and sessions for our local young people.
“We are very proud to be working alongside this amazing group of people to create something beneficial for many years to come.”
Duncan Chisholm, musician, said:
“I’m absolutely delighted to be performing at The Unexpected Garden.
“The essence of this wonderful project following the same principles that are at the heart of Fèis Rois, that of community, music, language and knowledge, with this particular project having its focus on sustainability.
“The responsibility of creating a sustainable planet is one that we all have a role to play in.
“When we finally see land as a community to which we belong, then perhaps we can begin to use it with love and respect.”
The Unexpected Garden is at The Field, River Close North, Teaninich Industrial Estate, Alness, IV16 0PB.
For more information on the events taking place, and for details on how to secure places on some of the free workshops, please visit www.feisrois.org.