The Niel Gow Festival 2023

Saturday 18th March 2023

Everything you need to know about what's happening on the day

Saturday afternoon concert

Birnam Arts | 2:30pm
Featuring: Elizabeth Davidson-Blythe (Fiddle) and Daniel Quayle (Irish Bouzouki); Suzanne Fivey (Piano) and Rua MacMillan (Fiddle); and musicians from The Junior Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Saturday evening concert

Birnam Arts | 7:00pm
Featuring: Charlie McKerron (Fiddle) and Marc Clement (Guitar); Ryan Young (Fiddle) and Owen Sinclair (Guitar); and the Dunkeld and District Strathspey and Reel Society.

Trees Walk

Niel Gow Statue | 11:30am
Setting off from the Niel Gow statue at 11:30am, you will be led on a walk looking at the historic and notable trees around Birnam. No tickets required but donations gratefully received.

Pete Clark and Muriel Johnstone

Little Dunkeld Kirk | 10:00am
A fiddle and piano pairing that should not be missed in the Little Dunkeld Kirk at 10am - the same Kirk that Niel Gow is buried in.

Session - The Royal British Legion

Dunkeld is known to enjoy a good session, so bring your instruments (or just yourselves) along to the pub and play into the early hours of the morning at our open sessions.

'Join the tunes' and 'Learn a tune'

Birnam Arts | 10:00am and 11:00am
Aimed for children and teenagers, bring your dancing feet, your instruments (if you can play at least one tune already) and come along to these workshops, on Saturday morning at Birnam Arts.


Weekend workshops blocks suited to intermediate players

Fiddle workshops

10:00 - 11:00: Rua MacMillan
11:30 - 12:30: Charlie McKerron
14:00 - 15:30: Peter Tracey

Mixed instrument workshops

10:00 - 11:00: Elizabeth Davidson-Blythe and Daniel Quayle
11:30 - 12:30: Peter Tracey and Owen Sinclair
14:00 - 15:30: Ryan Young and Owen Sinclair

These can now be booked as individual workshops via the Birnam Arts website.

Cello workshops

10:00 - 11:00: Wendy Weatherby

Gow Gathering

Download your own copy of the Gow Gathering programme here. All you have to do is click the link below!


A pop-up craft and music fair ‘Upstairs at Birnam Arts’ will be alongside the Niel Gow Festival this year. Running from 10.30-4pm on both Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th the pop-up will showcase local arts and crafts, as well as excellent music and instrument stalls. Some of those who will be there are:

Kat n Kat

Handmade gifts, jewellery and textiles

Station Cat Pottery

Pottery with a string instrument theme!

Storybook Instrument Workshop

Instrument makers of violins, harps and guitars

Dunkeld & Birnam Traditional Youth Music Group

With Karys Watt - fiddle player

Alastair J. Hardie
Tim Wright Violins
Perthshire Guitar Service
The Kiln Creative Pottery
Olivella Violins

The Donegal Fiddlers’ Portrait Collection Exhibition

The Donegal Fiddlers’ Portrait Collection Exhibition will be part of this year’s festival and displayed in our venues. This is a documentation project undertaken by Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí in 2022 with the support of the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaion. The project set out to produce a photographic portrait of each fiddler associated with the Donegal fiddle tradition over the age of eighteen years. The collection was designed to be produced by a professional photographer and capture the individual nature of each of the subjects.The project was tendered to a number of highly qualified professional photographers with the commission won by Dónal Glackin.

Dónal is a full time professional photographer, videographer and documentary film maker. His work appears regularly on TG4 as well as RTÉ television. One of the stand out aspects of Dónal’s tender was to also capture each instrument as it is associated with its specific owner. His work has shown that in many cases, the nature of the fiddle as a subject often holds the same ‘personality’ as the fiddler. In the process of delivering the project so far, he has also captured images of a tin fiddle, a form of the instrument which is strongly connected with the tradition in Donegal.

To date the project has seen Dónal capture and produce portraits of over 130 fiddlers from the Donegal tradition and their fiddles. The project is on-going and we are continually contacting other subjects yet to be documented.