Aberdour Festival 2019

On the 26th of July the 36th Aberdour Festival kicks off. It truly is a remarkable ten days. Flicking through the programme, there is an incredibly diverse number of sporting, musical and cultural events on and there really is something for everyone. Some people buy Glastonbury tickets regardless of the acts involved as they just like the vibe and hanging out with friends. A lot of the fun of the Aberdour Festival is that; taking time off work to stay up a bit later or just being naughty and having a drink in the afternoon!

The Festival committee do an amazing job and we’re more than happy to help out. My own contribution is, with our own small committee, putting together the Donkey Brae Run, on Sunday 28 July. The 7 mile run is a 550 strong sell out. We expect around another 100 runners for the 2 mile run and about 300 for the fun run. With the Village Market Day on straight after it, Donkey Brae day, as I call it, is, IMHO, the best day of the year in this part of Fife.

The Festival at the Woodside kicks off on Friday 26 July with an exhibition of photographs by Fraser Simpson.  Fraser was a leading member of the International Cave Divers Association and many of the photos on exhibition are incredible shots of his challenges around the world. The exhibition has been organised by Fraser’s good friend (and friend of the Woodside!) Douglas Kelso, who put together the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park. Expect a highly professional display honouring the work of a remarkable man. Prints will be on sale with all proceeds going to the Maggie’s Centre Fraser attended.

On the evening of Monday 29 July there is a comedy night at the hotel. We’ve been looking to host comedy events for some time so hopefully there is an audience for us. The Festival committee have a strong bill of four very funny comics and this is a night we’re looking forward to a great deal.

The next night, Tuesday 30 July sees Aberdeenshire folksinger, Iona Fyfe take the stage. Winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2018, Iona now has an international reputation.

On Wednesday 31 July, we’re delighted to host Fife’s own Coaltown Daisies. With their love of country and Americana Vivienne and Lynzy are a perfect fit for a night at The Woodside.

After this, we’re going to take it easy and enjoy a bit of the Festival ourselves! I’m looking forward to hearing Stuart Cosgrove talk about American soul on Friday 2 August. Stuart’s soul trilogy is incredibly researched and written. Each book is a thriller in its own right. His knowledge of 60s American society, quite apart from soul music, is exceptional and his ability to recall facts and anecdotes of the period, with a very Scottish sense of humour, makes for a great evening for music fans.

Hope to see you about.

Tickets for all the official Festival events are available in various locations in Aberdour and for our own Coaltown Daisies gig at the hotel online here.

Films at The Woodside

Films at the Woodside Hotel

Films at The WoodsideOne of the most enjoyable parts of running a multi faceted operation such as The Woodside is putting on films.

A lot of us have nice TVs and Netflix subscriptions but there’s a time for going out to see a film, perhaps also to see a film with friends.

It could be a film you haven’t seen for a while, a film that’s cropped up in conversation or simply one which you missed or found too expensive at the local multiplex.

So, we see ourselves as plugging that gap of putting on a film you’d like to see in a different surrounding from home which guarantees a good night, or afternoon out.

It needs to be said that we are offering a quality cinematic experience.

We have a first class projector, screen and integrated sound system expertly installed by AVD of Dalgety Bay.

All our films are shown on either 4D or Blu-ray versions.

You can also enjoy a drink during the show!

One Friday per month we shall (mostly) show a film which has been on recent release.

One Sunday late afternoon per month we shall show a classic.

You can view our schedule here.

Admission is just £4.

Admission is free for those dining with us that night and for our residents.

Hope to see you at Films at The Woodside!

Tenement and Temple

Tenement and Temple to Play Woodside Hotel 24 July 2019

Glasgow's Tenement and Temple to Play Woodside Hotel Aberdour

Glasgow’s Tenement and Temple are to play Woodside Hotel 24 July 2019 – as part of their mini Scotland tour. This gig is guaranteed to be a night to remember. If you aren’t familiar with the name, read on…

TENEMENT & TEMPLE is a new route for Scottish songwriters Monica Queen and Johnny Smillie alighting gracefully on the hymnal stylings of pre-war Americana and the lush, widescreen Countrypolitan sounds of the 60s.

Singer Monica and guitarist Johnny were central to seminal Glasgow country-rockers Thrum.

Signing to Fire Records they recorded their debut album in San Francisco. American Music Club producer Norman Kerner was at the helm. With it, they shrugged off the prevailing trappings of Britpop and introduced mid-90s indie kids to the joys of Gram Parsons. In doing so, they pioneered the UK wave of the nascent alt.country scene in the process.

Monica Collaborations of Note…

Monica is now known though and highly regarded for her numerous guest appearances, most notably duets with Shane MacGowan, Snow Patrol and Belle and Sebastian (video below), particularly on the latter’s early classic ‘Lazy Line Painter Jane’, and for her elegant, Smillie-produced solo records.

Johnny is better known these days for his studio work, but is never happier than when playing his guitar and singing harmony to Monica.

Their new route is a free, melodic and expansive harmonic domain in which dissonance exists with simple beauty and a sense of mischief wrapped in a cassock of spirituality. The pair’s love of musical greats such as Elvis, Neil Young, Emmylou, Gillian Welch, Carter Family, Doris Day and Willie Nelson is laid bare on this, their debut collection of songs.

Book Your Tickets Now

Book your tickets now for when Tenement and Temple Play the Woodside Hotel to avoid an disappointment. They’re available on BookitBee here.

You can find the Tenement and Temple Youtube Channel here. or pop on over to the T&T Facebook page here.

Blue Nile gather of fans

Blue Nile Gathering 26 -28 April 2019

Blue Nile Gathering Woodside Hotel Aberdour

Last weekend was pretty special.

The hotel was full, we had live music. Lots of food and drink were consumed.

Nothing that special about that, you may think.

Except everyone at the hotel were fans of The Blue Nile.

The Blue Nile, in case you don’t know, were a Scottish band who produced four wonderful albums; A Walk Across the Rooftops, Hats, Peace at Last and High between 1984 and 2014.

They only made four albums, in those years, which was one of the things which set the band apart from their contemporaries.

Each album was memorable and a product of the highest musical craftsmanship.

Each live performance was a triumph of, as one critic famously put it, a “shared private experience”.

For those of us about in those years, The Blue Nile’s music, above all others, was the soundtrack to our loves, losses, successes and failures. We all know who Tinseltown in the Rain reminds us of, where we were when we heard The Downtown Lights for the first time. How Family Life brought us to tears. Some of us even went to Toledo because The Blue Nile made a song about the place.

If you’ve never heard the band’s music, get yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea and allow yourself half an hour to watch this magical film…

Even though the band no longer record or play live together, the fans have this eternal music. The fans also realise that they have a lot in common. People who like The Blue Nile tend to have fine taste in other music, in films, in books and art.

So, in 2019, it should be no surprise that there is a vibrant online Blue Nile community. The Facebook Page “The Blue Nile – The Music of Paul Buchanan, PJ Moore and Robert Bell” allows fans to share memorabilia, videos, anecdotes, sightings and selfies of band members amid rich discussion.

Members of the group have had a couple of Gatherings, allowing people to actually meet up and share their musical stories, forming lasting friendships. When Geno, one of the Page’s admins, suggested having a Gathering in Aberdour, I was absolutely thrilled.

Aberdour is a good venue because while we’re out of the central belt, providing a ‘holiday’ experience, we’re still pretty accessible. One couple came from Leeds, another from Durham, one from Ireland and Nicole travelled from Gothenburg too.

Myself and a lovely guy called Ross started The Aberdour Gathering at about 0840 on Friday 26/4 with a game of golf. Ross showed me that he doesn’t spend all his time listening to The Blue Nile, he actually spends a fair amount of time on the golf course. My local knowledge was no match for Ross’s single handicap acumen but it was clear to me that if Ross’s patter was typical of the group, I was in for a fun weekend.

Come 2pm and the Nilers started arriving. A crowd of people everywhere. At the bar. I was on the wrong side for a few hours pouring the gins, the pints and the wines. No half measures! The warmth and the friendliness was tangible. The old hotel came to life. In my short time here it has never seen such a happy bunch of people. I longed for a member of staff to arrive so I could join in!

Scottish legend Karen Matheson was booked to play at night. Karen had played a barnstorming public show the night before so i knew how good Friday night would be. But, to accommodate the Nilers I had to move the Dalgety Bay folk club to the local village hall. That meant schmoozing the council caretakers, setting up tables and chairs and a temporary bar too, hoping all would go well.

Gathering of the Blue Nile fans

If Karen and her band were brilliant on the Thursday night, they stepped up another gear on the Friday. Karen’s set was a marvellous collection of gaelic, traditional Scottish songs and covers of contemporary classics. Covering The Blue Nile’s Peace at Last was not just brave, it was highly thoughtful and ecstatically received. The Nilers partied on, the bar rocking to the sounds of Mark, a top drawer acoustic performer.

Saturday saw the sun shine and the Nilers walk around the village. There was the chance to complete The Blue Nile treasure trail. At least there was until someone uplifted the final card from the train station bench.

I’m not a local, I’m from Glasgow, but I’ve lived in Aberdour for 22 years and it was great to hear how much the Nilers enjoyed walking round the beaches and the clifftops. Taking the most amazing photos and clearly enjoying each other’s company. What I enjoyed most was blethering about The Blue Nile but then moving on to effortlessly discuss any number of issues in a friendly, intelligent way. The Facebook Page is notable for its tolerance and humour and these guys in the flesh were exactly the same.

Saturday night saw another performance, this time from the Americana artist Amber Cross. Amber had a family health issue to contend with but honoured her commitment and made several new fans with her Natalie Merchantesque sound. The equipment was left for what i was told by geno would be an open mic session of high quality. He wasn’t wrong. David asked me what Neil Young song I’d like to hear and off the bat he sung a brilliant version of Old Man. Ross, whom I’d last seen tearing a strip off me at golf, did superb Danny Wilson songs, Mary’s Prayer and Never Gonna Be the Same. Robert pitched in with Cannonball. And Mark sung Paul Buchanan’s Mid Air. The great man himself would have applauded.

Sunday morning’s breakfast saw more hilarity and bonhomie before the group went their separate ways. A few had a hair of the dog in Edinburgh.

Aberdour 2 will take place in September and wonderful though Aberdour 1 was, I get the feeling the September one will be even better. I’ll have my thinking cap on for ways I can add to the experience and I know Geno is working hard at it too. The bottom line though is, it isn’t rocket science to make a weekend with these great people, who know how to enjoy themselves, work. It’s obvious that their love for The Blue Nile reflects their overall love for the good things in life; family, friends and good times. No more shout. No more fight.

Haste ye back.


New website

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the Woodside hotel’s new website.

There have been many changes that have gone on in the hotel in the last year.

We’ve had a different website but it was one provided for us by a third party hotel channel manager.

Many hotels have these and, to an extent, they do a job.

But they are a bit limited in what they can showcase.

We have many comments of “if only I knew this was on” and, ironically, in the world of digital 24/7 media it is actually harder in many ways now to get your information across.

So, the new website is here and shows that letting rooms is actually just one part of a modern hotel.

The social media pages will always have unique content and instant news but on here you can see the broad brush of what’s going on in the hotel, now and in the near future.

The past too, as the Clipper restaurant has quite a unique history.

Thanks for viewing the website and we hope to see you in the hotel.

John and Lis