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Portpatrick Folk Festival got off to a rousing start this year with a performance from Stranraer and District Pipe Band on the Dorn Rock last Friday evening.

The weather sneaked up with a little rain but band members were undeterred and the crowd very enthusiastic.

The first concert of the Festival took place in the Downshire Arms Hotel also on Friday evening and featured Fiddler Extraordinaire Sean McGuire, together with the Drouthy Band, Stranraer Folk Club and Kagan. Standing room only was the order of the night and a great time was had by all.

Saturday was a great day, bright and sunny, and everyone took advantage of the weather to enjoy the outdoor activities arranged around the village. There was juggling, African drumming, face painting, storytelling with Tony Bonning, a harmony workshop, bouncy castle, competitions, arts and crafts workshops - and lots of fun.

The afternoon harbourside concert was a great success with everyone who missed the concert on Friday night having a chance to hear Sean McGuire, The Drouthy Band and Kagan.

There were open sessions in the Village Hall and lots of sessions outside the pubs in the sunshine.

The Saturday evening concert in the village was a resounding success with Julie Felix, North Sea Gas, Anthony John Clarke and Trefor and Vicki Williams giving great performances.

Clive Pownceby was on hand as MC and did a great job. Julie Felix took everyone down memory lane with Blowin' in the Wind and Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands - she is a great performer and was on top form on Saturday. The finale of the concert was Wild Mountain Thyme performed by all - including a very enthusiastic audience. The atmosphere in the hall was wonderful and this could be counted as one of the best concerts yet at Portpatrick Folk Festival.

Open Sessions in the Village Hall on Sunday were hosted by Clive Pownceby and featured a workshop with Julie Felix which went down a treat with her fans.

Julie is a great storyteller and told of what it is like to be a musician on the road touring. She delighted the audience with her lovely manner, songs and music.

Sunday also brought us Anthony John Clarke and Trefor and Vicki Williams with a Children's Concert in the Courtyard of the Waterfront Hotel which went down a treat with children and adults alike.

Unfortunately the weather, which had been holding out all day, decided to change and Willie Drennan, the storyteller from Northern Ireland, had to adjourn to the village hall where he had a very enthusiastic audience entranced with his stories and singing.

To cap it all off Portpatrick Folk Festival Prize Draw took place in the Village Hall with Willie Drennan drawing the winners.

Star prize of a Weekend for Two at Knockinaam Lodge went to a delighted May Hattie of Newarthill, Motherwell.

Many other prizes were donated by local businesses and individuals which all led to a very successful raffle indeed. Much more music was played in all the local pubs on Sunday evening.

Organisers Portpatrick Events thank all who took part in the festival this year and sponsors, including Dumfries and Galloway Council, Sti, Gael Force 2003, South of Scotland European Partnership, Youth Strategy Executive Group and Carlsberg.

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