Since moving to Stonehaven in the mid 80s, Meg Findlay has been making a huge contribution to the traditional music scene in the North East of Scotland by setting up, and has ever since been running, Stonehaven Folk Club 32 years ago. She then set up Stonehaven Folk Festival a year after the Folk Club, saturating the small town with traditional music for one weekend a year.
Meg was brought up on a farm, although she comes from a musical background, with her Father a keen singer in local productions and her Grandfather contributing to the Carpenter Collection. From her teens Meg was part of the Young Farmers, seeing her contributing to local events and aspects of the community as well as perform songs with her guitar. Her interest in people and hard work saw her travel to Australia for a year on a Young Farmer exchange as a teenager. On her return to the UK, she moved t Aberdeen to study, where she stayed and started her career in administration in the oil industry. She then went on to work in recruitment for graduates, helping them gain necessary experience to land jobs in the oil industry. Finding the interpersonal work very rewarding, Meg went on to do a course on Learning and Development.
During the mid 80s after leaving university and before her career started in administration, Meg started the folk club in the wine bar that she was working in. A year later, the she was inspired to start a festival in the town. The festival and folk club are ran separately but Meg is a core member on each committee. Since the festival’s inception, Meg has attended it every year, bar 1999 when she went to Australia, but ensured that the whole festival was organised before she left so it could run in her absence. Aside from hosting some of the best known artists in traditional music, Stonehaven Folk Festival has held some less conventional events, for example achieving the Guiness World Record’s Largest Ceilidh Band!
As well as running the folk club and festival, in her retirement Meg has become a member of the Scottish Culture and Traditions (SCAT) board, who promote Scottish music by organising adult instrumental classes and a youth camp.
Through her work, Meg has made friends with people all over the world, describing how much she values hosting the artists that come to play at the folk club. Alongside he World’s Biggest Ceilidh Band, Meg cites winning the comb and paper competition as part of the festival one of her career highlights!
Despite the challenges that come with organising a festival and folk club, Meg prides herself on keeping them both running against all odds. Meg credits young people and their enthusiasm for traditional music for the continuation of the industry.
Insistent on loving what you do, in her own words: ‘Sometimes you just need to come to Stonehaven and have a shot at paper and comb!’.