A packed schedule during the forthcoming festival season confirms that RURA are one of Scotland’s most exciting and most sought-after live bands.
The five-piece, voted Live Act of the Year at the 2015 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, have lined-up 16 festival appearances, including three in one weekend, during current tours.
It will take them across the country and to Denmark and Belgium, while another series of dates are already scheduled in the UK and in Germany later in the year. They have already confirmed dates next year in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada. In addition, a recent gig at an industry showcase in Cape Breton will also have put them on the wanted list of other festival organisers.
Their appearance at this year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival will be their third in recent years and the event remains a favourite.
“We love coming to HebCelt. It was one of our first summer festivals in the early years of the band and it really left its mark on us”, said bodhran and flute player David Foley. “The line-up is always great and the festival is a joy to work with.”
The 21st HebCelt will be held from 13-16 July, with Runrig heading a programme of nearly 50 acts, including the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Hayseed Dixie, Astrid, King Creosote. Julie Fowlis, Eddi Reader and John McCusker.
“We’re really looking forward to playing this year’s festival and to be playing the main stage on Saturday night”, said David. “We imagine the crowd will be buzzing for Runrig, so hopefully we'll get some of that excitement from them too.
“Simply put, festivals are the best way to pick up fans - and they are certainly the most fun gigs to do. Sometimes you’ll be playing for thousands of people, and that’s a huge audience for most bands, whoever they are.
“But that’s not the only thing – festivals have this amazing atmosphere, everyone’s out for a good weekend, and so it’s always a pleasure to play them. It’s the best craic.”
Due to their popularity, the band have just two weekends free between now and October and will play three festivals in two days in England and Wales the weekend before HebCelt.
David added: “It will be a mad weekend. After that, Stornoway will be nice couple of days’ rest.”
The band – David, Steven Blake (pipes/whistles), Adam Brown (guitar), Adam Holmes (vocals/guitar) and Jack Smedley (fiddle) – are each renowned musicians in their own right and also with other outfits, although RURA remains their most important project.
David performs with the transglobal-roots-fusion Världens Band and the Irish/Scottish instrumental trio, The Lowground; Jack has taken to the stage with many line-ups including Mànran and The Treacherous Orchestra; Adam Holmes is also touring this year with his band The Embers, with whom he has released a new album; Steven has performed with The Unusual Suspects and The Chieftains and also as a soloist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Royal Northern College of Music’s Symphony Orchestra; and Adam Brown has toured extensively in Europe with The Rua Macmillan Trio, The Paddy Callaghan Band and is also a member of Ímar.
“Yes, we all have other projects aside from RURA and they’re all important to us”, said David. “We’ve never found having multiple projects hard to manage – it’s something we’ve got used to.
“It’s probably true to say that it informs us musically as well as professionally – for example how other bands/projects work, and picking up practices that help RURA progress. Sometimes you learn what not to do!”
HebCelt has grown from a small event attracting less than 1,000 fans, to an international showpiece for roots, Celtic and traditional music, generating more than £20 million for the local economy over two decades.
Last year, it marked its 20th anniversary by hosting its biggest number of live performances ever with more than 50 hours of music and arts events staged in the main arena in the grounds of Lews Castle, as well as An Lanntair arts centre in the town centre and other venues in rural areas.