Celtic pride

Singer Beaton to help
Kentucky Scottish Festival mark 25 years

The event features traditional music,
dance and games at Carrollton's Butler Park

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, Ky. (May 2007) – A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Alex Beaton will make his 18th annual appearance at the Kentucky Scottish Weekend festival on May 12-13 at Gen. Butler State Resort Park. “The friendliness of the fans” is one of the main reasons this Scottish folk singer said he has returned to Carrollton year after year.
Beaton, a young 62 years old, described his music as “traditional and contemporary Scottish folk music.” His repertoire includes traditional ballads, Celtic classics and original compositions.

Alex Deaton

Photo provided

Scotland native
Alex Beaton will
perform at the festival
on May 12-13.

One reason he gives for traditional Celtic music’s popularity with American audiences is “the closeness to American folk, country and bluegrass music.” He also credits its influence to “the millions of people in North America of Scottish decent and their interest in their heritage.”
This is the 25th anniversary for The Kentucky Scottish Weekend festival. Events last from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the park.
Scheduled events include clan gatherings, athletic competitions, piping and drumming competitions, a British car show, Border Collie demonstrations, vendors, and musical performances by Seven Nations, MacTalla Mor, Kentucky Wild Horse and Beaton.
Beaton began his musical career with the Cumberland Three, a popular British folk singing group. Immigrating to the United States in 1965, he turned to a solo career in New York in 1968. By the early 1980s, he had decided American audiences would enjoy hearing the sounds of traditional Celtic music.
He has been a featured performer at major Scottish festivals in Canada, North Carolina, California and Georgia. Beaton resides in Franklin, Tenn., having recently relocated there from California.
He has recorded more than 18 albums with his rich baritone voice and performs in North America and Scotland. He is the founder and president of Glenfinnan Music Ltd., which he established as a venue “to publish, produce and distribute Scottish folk music.”
Jesse Andrews, president of the Kentucky Scottish Weekend Inc., said he is excited to have someone of Beaton’s stature participating in the festival for so long. In Andrews’ eyes, Beaton is “a famous recording artist.”
Andrews has been with the festival since its conception in May 1983. Only a crowd of 50 attended the rain-shortened first festival, but by the following year, organizers were better prepared.
Several clan tents, four vendors, several pipe bands, athletics and a Sunday morning kirking (church service) rounded out the lineup for the second year. The festival has now “grown to an average of 30 clans and anywhere from eight to 17 pipe bands,” plus numerous other entertainment venues, said Andrews.
Organizers meet on the park grounds at least six times a year. “We have about 25 volunteers who donate their time, energy and money,” said Andrews. He also credits the Kentucky Park System and its employees as a great support system. “It’s a labor of love!”
This year, the Kentucky Tourism Council has selected the festival as a 2007 “Top Ten” spring event. A panel of judges based their selection on such criteria as “creativity, appeal, uniqueness and reputation,” said Marcheta Sparrow, the council’s president and CEO.
A point system is used to evaluate events nominated by council members, said Sparrow. Also taken into consideration is the impact on local tourism and cultural and historical significance.
This festival is sponsored by the Kentucky Scottish Weekend Inc. and Butler Park. Additional sponsors are welcome to contribute to funding expenses.

• For more information and advance tickets, visit: www.kyscottishweekend.org or call Jesse Andrews at (513) 574-2969. For more information on Alex Beaton, visit his website: www.alexbeaton.com.

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