Scotland’s best-loved small festival is back for a fourth year with music, magic and a massive celebration of the Year of Food and Drink.
Mhor Festival at Loch Voil in Balquhidder offers a packed line up of activity and entertainment over the Bank Holiday Weekend in May, with support from Glengoyne Whisky, Cuddybridge Apple Juice, Pol Roger Champagne and many more.
The festival kicks off on Saturday with the Whisky Galore Raft Race on the loch, a celebration of Whisky Month, with participants competing for £100 prize money. The afternoon offers musical entertainment for all tastes and lots of family friendly fun for children including arts and crafts workshops, dance workshops, trapeze artists and the always-messy omelette challenge.
The centrepiece of the weekend is the legendary Festival Feast with five top chefs each cooking a course, giving food lovers a unique opportunity to sit down to an epic meal. The chefs taking part are:
• Fred Berkmiller from L’escargot bleu and blanc in Edinburgh, making his Mhor Festival debut
• Roy Brett, Ondine, the award-winning seafood chef returns for his fourth year at the Feast
• Michael Smith, the Michelin starred winner of BBC’s Great British Menu makes the journey from his home on Skye to take part
• Neil Forbes, Café St Honore, Scotland’s current Chef of the Year
• Tom Lewis, Monachyle Mhor, on his hometurf, the man responsible for the whole weekend extravaganza
Those not attending the feast will be spoilt for choice on Saturday night with improved camping facilities, more entertainment and food on offer than ever before – giving the feast a run for its money. The fire performers and a zip wire are just some of the exciting things to enjoy.
Sunday morning starts gently with a panel of top journalists and commentators reviewing the newspapers over bacon rolls and coffee in front of an audience.
Budding bakers young and not so can young can compete in the fruit and veg themed Mhor Bake Off and take part in a tutorial on how to make an honest loaf of bread with Tom Lewis, with prizes up for grabs for the winners.
For an early evening refreshment, A Play, A Pint & A Pie is by Lou Prendergast this year. A one-man play based on a self-proclaimed ‘man’s man’ with the gift of the gab and a penchant for Elvis.
Festivalgoers can then dance the night away on Sunday evening with the Scottish Ceilidh Allstars followed by live Motown music from The Soul Foundation. Live DJ’s will then open up The Club keeping the music playing right into the night.
Food and drink is at the heart of the festival and there’s plenty to choose from for all tastes: Oyster Bar, Pimms and Champagne bar, Whisky Bar, The Salad Bar, The Big Barbeque cooking up meats from the family farm, a Hog Roast, Fish and Chip Truck and a vintage tearoom serving afternoon tea.
The food producers market will take place on both days in the barn and will offer everything from pies, pastries, popcorn and preserves to whisky, jewellery, sea salt and apple juice. Forth Valley College students will be supporting hospitality, front of house and the kitchen. The Salon Services team will add a touch of glamour to the Festival with a hair and make-up pop-up pamper parlour in the meadow.
The festival’s spectacular setting on the shores of Loch Voil are ideal for enjoying the great outdoors but in the event of bad weather, the festival will move under cover to two large barns. Lochside camping will be available on both nights.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:
“The Mhor Festival always promises to be a fantastic day out for the family with plenty of choice for visitors.
“The festival is a great celebration of local culture and a platform for showcasing local produce. I’m pleased to see that will continue this year in Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink. We have a fantastic natural larder, iconic, fresh products, strong global brands, and excellent provenance credentials which I hope people will have the chance to experience at this year’s festival.”
The Festival has received additional support from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and is part of the Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015, an initiative being led by EventScotland and VisitScotland.
Mairi Bell, Head of Visitor Experience at the Park said:
“The Mhor Festival is an excellent example of a family friendly event that showcases some of the best food and drink from around the National Park. The festival is one of the real highlights in the Park’s event programme and we’re really pleased to be a part of it this year.
Diane Creed Head of the Department of Hospitality and Salon Services at Forth Valley College, said:
“The Mhor Festival has established itself as one of the best events on the Scottish summer entertainment calendar and we are delighted to form this exciting partnership with them. Teams of students from our Hospitality and Salon Services will be working at the event preparing and serving food and offering hair, nail and beauty services and treatments and they can’t wait to get involved. The Mhor Festival is an excellent platform for our students to show just what they can do and they will benefit immensely from the experience.”
Mhor Art, a collection of contemporary artwork from up and coming, young Scottish artists from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee will be on display and available for sale throughout the weekend. Works include painting, printmaking and design. Curated by Joshua Barr.
Past years’ themes have been The Diamond Jubilee and Commonwealth. This year is inspired by Tom and Lisa’s recent trip to India with VisitScotland, the theme is ‘A Taste of India...Festivalgoers are welcome to dress up in their Bollywood best.
Mhor Festival is organised by the Lewis family, who run award-winning Monachyle Mhor and Mhor 84 motel. The festival takes place at Monachyle Mhor Hotel, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Perthshire, FK19 8PQ.
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