by Peter Callaghan
There’s more to my home town of Falkirk than The Kelpies and The Wheel. Not a lot, but there is. At least in cultural terms anyway. On the first Saturday of each month, [Untitled] run a spoken word event Wooer With Words, which gives a platform to new and established writers to share their work in a friendly and informal environment and over the course of the last few years have staged a number of high-profile events featuring luminaries such as the former Scottish makar Liz Lochhead, the 2002 Scottish Book of the Year winner Janice Galloway and the man so ridiculously prolific and consistently brilliant that they’ve named a local street after him Alan Bissett.
On the comedy front, there has been a small but perfectly formed annual festival run by the Scottish Comedy Agency and Falkirk Delivers in association with the local council which since 2010 has showcased the work of a variety of comedians ranging from the home-grown Janey Godley and Des Clarke to BBC regulars Omid Djalili and Ardal O’Hanlon not to mention the sensation that is Kevin Bridges. (Though, sadly, there has been no talk of a 2016 festival). In nearby Bo’ness, Scotland’s oldest purpose-built cinema The Hippodrome plays host to a Festival of Silent Cinema, which this year sold over 2000 tickets. And let’s not forget Callendar House, an impressive mansion set in the beautifully designed gardens of Callendar Park which lies on the line of the 2nd-century Antonine Wall and houses a museum, art gallery and a restored 1825 kitchen.
And now we come to the main event: Falkirk Live. A new weekend festival of live music presented by Jazz Scotland and Falkirk Community Trust, which kicks off on Friday, 14 October. With 14 gigs in six venues over three days, and with a tag line of “Blues, Jazz, Folk, Indie, Classical and Much More”, it really does offer something for everyone. My own personal highlights being Banknock-born singer-songwriter Karine Polwart at The Faw Kirk (Trinity Church, just off the High Street) and a brace of female jazz singers in the form of Rose Room again at The Faw Kirk and Alison Affleck’s Copper Cats at Behind The Wall. Though if it’s something more refined you’re after, Scottish classical guitarist Sean Shibe opens the festival at Falkirk Town Hall. And for those of a blues disposition, you get three bands for the price of one on Saturday afternoon. So c’moan, jump oan a train or hop oan a bus, and find out mair aboot whit I kick a fuss!
Video: Falkirk Live