Festival of Song

From Thursday 6th to Monday 10th June 2019

Facilitated by Mairi Campbell, Helen Chadwick, Kate Howard and Ali Mills at Kilcreggan House (one hour from Glasgow on the Clyde Estuary)

A message from Ali Mills:

Dear all,

I cannot imagine a better way of celebrating a midsummer than a Festival of Song with some of my favourite song leaders and that is exactly what we have on offer in June this year! Over the course of a long weekend we’ll sing a mix of songs we know, new compositions and explore our creativity through improvisation and time around the fire.

We’ll combine more formal sessions in the lovely singing hall at Kilcreggan House with time in the gardens or for you to walk on the beach, forest or up the hill to the reservoir. There’ll be a ceilidh on the Saturday evening, with a scratch band made up of among others our song leaders Mairi and Kate.

I’m inviting you to come and be part of our Festival. We can fit about 50 people, so we should make a really good sound. The food should also be great, much of it prepared by Jim Davison who is coming to cook for us especially.

In terms of the more formal sessions, Kate Howard will be leading her world music and warm-up sessions, Mairi Campbell will be leading Improvisation, Helen Chadwick will be teaching some of her own compositions and I will be facilitating the weekend and leading a candlelit or fireside evening sing.

All of this is happening at Kilcreggan House, a new home for singing in the West of Scotland.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have further questions once you’ve looked at the practicalities below. And do pass this on to anyone who you think might like to come. Above all if you want to come please do book as our experience is that places fill very fast!

I look forward to seeing you here.


Kilcreggan House

Kilcreggan House is a grand old country house sitting high above the Clyde, with spectacular views across the water to Gourock and out of the mouth of the Clyde to the Island of Arran. The house has recently been renovated and this is our first year offering workshop space and accommodation.

There are extensive grounds to walk in, working artists studios in the grounds and a beautiful hall to sing in with wood burning stove. There is a kitchen for catering, a large dining room with open fire and an elegant drawing room with a baby grand piano.image1.jpeg


There are 6 bedrooms on the first floor of the house with 4 brand new bathrooms each with a spacious shower and one with a bath. There are an additional 6 studio rooms with en-suites in the grounds of the house. We are able to sleep a total of 26 people in 10 twin/double rooms and two grand bay-windowed bedrooms each sleeping 3 people. All bed linen and towels are provided. Bring warm slippers or socks for the Hall.

We also have space for 6 small tents around a fire pit in the grounds in front of the studios or possibly hidden away in the secret garden and two camper vans.


All meals are provided and are vegetarian. Jim Davison is our local chef and he will cook lunch and evening meals on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Everything is provided for you to help yourself to a simple breakfast in the dining room. Soup and salad will be available on the Thursday evening. Bring your own wine and any treats you fancy.

Cost for 4 nights inclusive

3 people sharing a room – each person – £280

2 people sharing a room – each person – £320

For each person staying in their own tent or camper-van – £260

Non-residential – including lunch, dinner and all the sessions – each person – £220

£100 deposit will secure a place with your booking details or special offer below**This is refundable minus £30 admin charge up until 27th April. Early-bird discounted rate £15 reduction

We also offer an early-bird rate if payment arrives before 23rd February 2019

3 people sharing a room – each person – £265

2 people sharing a room – each person – £305

For each person staying in their own tent or camper-van – £245

Non-residential – including lunch, dinner and all the sessions – each person – £205

£100 deposit will secure a place with your booking details or special offer below**

This is refundable minus a £30 admin charge up until 27th April.

The remaining payment needs to be made by 27th April or……..

**Please note this year we’re offering a special offer of a further £15 discount for payment in full by 23rd February.

Arrival and departure

Thursday – Arrive from 6pm. Leave Monday at 11am

Getting here by car, or train and ferry

Kilcreggan is just over an hour by car west from Glasgow, but a lovely way to arrive is by train and ferry. Trains go regularly from Glasgow to Gourock which takes 40 mins and then there is a 10 minute ferry that crosses the Clyde to Kilcreggan, its a 5 minute walk then up to Kilcreggan House.

Dietary requirements

Food is vegetarian but we can accommodate vegan diets. Please enquire about other dietary needs.


Shared with 3 people



Tent or Camper van

The Leaders

Mairi Campbell

From singer, dance musician, visual artist to facilitator, Mairi is a multi-award winning musician at the cutting edge of the Scottish folk scene. She is renowned for extending the boundaries of the folk tradition in Scotland, bringing a powerful combination of deep craft, groundedness and spirit to her work.

Mairi was music director of Sangstream, an Edinburgh folk song choir for twelve years and has continuously developed her improvisational practice with mentors and study over thirty years.

During Mairi’s improvisation sessions she works with simple frameworks that support ‘making things up in the moment.’ Her dynamic approach and sense of fun help everyone join in a powerful and transformative creative experience.

Helen Chadwick

Helen is a singer, songwriter, composer and recording artist, with a background in theatre. She creates unaccompanied songs and performances with Helen Chadwick Song Theatre, including site-specific works for choirs and soloists, involving local communities and responding to the places in which they are made.

Helen has been commissioned to create song theatre performances for among others the Royal Opera House, English Touring Opera, Greenwich, Salisbury and Norwich Festivals and has composed for the BBC, The Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.

Helen is the founder with Thames Festival of the mass choir charity project Sing For Water which has raised over a million pounds for water projects at Wateraid, through work led by choir leaders all over the UK, Europe and Australia.

Kate Howard

Kate has developed a unique approach to working with the voice based on the union of body and breath and her knowledge of global singing traditions. She believes singing is a birthright and a powerful way for communities to express their emotions and sense of place.

Kate has an extensive knowledge of world music from South African, Gospel, Eastern European to English Folk, resulting in a fascinating collection of vocal material and songs from around the world. She specialises in using vocal techniques appropriate to the culture of the songs to create an authentic sound.

Kate has founded and worked with many choirs over the past 30 years. From Sheffield Socialist Choir, to Calder Valley Women’s Voices and her current choir, Cairn Chorus in her home village of Moniaive – Dumfries and Galloway.

Ali Mills

Ali’s interest in site specific singing comes in part from her career as a television set designer for the BBC. This combination of designing spaces, relating to the environment and her delight in singing has led her to create a rich song leading style.

Ali is particularly interested in the experience of singing in the moment, creating a soul space, often by candlelight, around a fire or outside on a beach or hill. She leads a singing group, Soulwind, in the village of Kilcreggan, teaching songs by ear from many different cultures in four part harmony.

Ali created a Songline coast to coast across Scotland from Dunbar to Helensburgh as part of the opening of the John Muir Way. She brought songs through six sites of interest across Scotland involving both singers from each community and a those who travelled with her.

Ali, with her partner Lawrence, is developing and running a singing and creative centre at Kilcreggan House on the Rosneath Peninsular.

Directions and Address

From Glasgow and the South:

Go west on the M8 and over the Erskine Bridge. As you come off the bridge turn left and north on the A82 to Crianlarrich. Stay on the A82 all the way past Dumbarton and Balloch – Do not Turn Off to Helensburgh! You go past quite a lot of roundabouts and Loch Lomond will be on your right. **At A817 – Turn left towards Garelochhead. You go up and over the hills and come down to a roundabout follow signs to RN Coulport, do not follow signs to Kilcreggan. More hills….. at the next roundabout take second exit to RN Coulport. At the bottom of the road you arrive at RN Coulport! Turn left. You then travel all the way along the sea front for about 10mins. Through Cove and to the village of Kilcreggan, go past the shops and Pier Carpark, the road veers to the left and up a hill, take first left onto Argyll Road. Kilcreggan House is the 3rd house on the right.

From the North

Coming down the A82 turn right at **At A817 (as above)

Kilcreggan House, Argyll Road, Kilcreggan, Argyll and Bute, G84 0JT

Ali Mills – 07802 928874

Contact Ali Mills for more information or to book your place on alimills.amarilla@me.com

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