Winter words, roof raising poetry, smokin' hot jazz, snowdrops and stars...

Thursday 24 January 2013

The first shiny new batch of the year’s festivals and events are coming up very soon: what better way to ward off the winter gloom and celebrate? Tomorrow (Friday) sees the start of Pitlochry's Winter Words, with more than 40 fantastic events including legendary politician Paddy Ashdown, the London 2012 Paralympian Karen Darke, broadcaster and writer James Naughtie and the effervescent Tony Robinson of Blackadder and Time Team fame, Tam Dalyell, Ian Buxton, Kate Mosse, Alistair Moffat and many, many more.

Winter Words is produced in connection with Literary Dundee and it is in Dundee, on Thursday 7th Feb (5-7pm) that William Letford, rising star of the poetry world (in both senses for he works as a roofer), will appear at one of the DCA’s famous Literary Dundee Salons. It’s free - no tickets needed - and there's complimentary wine. The author of the stunning first collection, Bevel, is famous for his mesmerising recitals of his work. Not to be missed.

StAnza has always made space for jazz in its programme, but for the full-on experience, nothing beats the Fife Jazz Festival (1-3 February) which welcomes February in with blues, swinging jazz, big band and trad. There’s Blues star Mud Morganfield (son of the legendary Muddy Waters) and the new swinging jazz star in Manhattan, Champian Fulton. Hear one of the top big bands in the world play the music of the iconic Charles Mingus and sample new Scottish trad bands like King Louis and the Primas.

For a magical woodland experience, head to Cambo House for Snowdrops by Starlight 13-17 FebruaryA stunning festival of light, snowdrops and interactive attractions, the snowdrop woodland (pictured) on the Cambo Estate, outside Crail in Fife, is transformed into a magical illuminated trail with dramatic lighting effects; unusual woodland vistas and outdoor art gallery offering decorated specimen trees and amazing environmental sculptures.

Plenty, all in all to whet the appetite before StAnza.