Culann perform at The HAC

Friday 18th July 2014

Available from the HAC box office (no booking fee) or via

The Chaplins perform at The HAC

Friday 8th August 2014

Tickets £5

Available from the HAC box office (no booking fee) or via

A “Freckfest Fiver” gig


We’re good at spotting talent….


One of the biggest hits of our festival last year was The Chaplins. You could go so far as to call them a surprise hit, but that’s being a wee bit detrimental to them. They were a surprise hit, but only in the sense that no-one really knew of them beforehand. By the end of their set they’d sold hundreds of pounds worth of CDs.


Fronted by Jill Jackson (vocalist with chart sensations Speedway) you might expect a pop group with a sound akin to her past. The Chaplins though are very different.


For starters, they’re a three-piece. And they have a distinct look, all 1920s prohibition-era Oxford bags and tailored waistcoats. More importantly, they sound terrific. They won this year’s Danny Kyle Stage at Celtic Connections, and that’s an award you don’t win easily.


With their roots firmly placed in the past, their Americana-tinged songs come gift-wrapped in terrific three-part harmonies, every arrangement underpinned with a loose-limbed subtle percussion. They have a stand-up double bass player who swings like Sinatra with a 5 iron and collectively The Chaplins have more tattoos than the front row of a Metallica concert. Not your average band at all.


If you’re a fan of Ray LaMontagne or KD Lang you should come and see them. In a parallel world it’d be The Chaplins and not Mumford & Sons who headline Glastonbury and conquer America. If you were lucky enough to see them last year you’ll know that already. Come and see them again in a more intimate venue! And bring a pal!

Glenn Tilbrook performs at The HAC

Friday 13th August 2014


As half of the song writing duo behind self-proclaimed ‘honky tonk new wavers’ Squeeze, Glenn Tilbrook has sold millions of records and played for many thousands of fans in the best concert venues around the world.


Not only is Glenn the proud owner of an Ivor Novello award for ‘An Outstanding Contribution To British Music’, Mojo magazine recently awarded him their ‘Classic Songwriter’ award, affording him the same honour previously bestowed upon such popular music icons as Ray Davies, Paul Weller and Johnny Marr.


In-between now sporadic Squeeze concerts, Glenn regularly plays a solo show liberally peppered with Squeeze’s greatest hits, and on Wednesday August 13th, he brings his one-man show to the intimate surroundings of the Harbour Arts Centre for what promises to be a very special gig.


Known and loved for his slightly shambolic approach to the live experience, Glenn regularly accepts audience requests, often regaling the audience with spoken-word anecdotes almost as much as playing the songs he’s loved for. Glenn is funny, engaging and unpredictable. Those lucky enough to attend JJ Gilmour’s sold-out HAC show will be familiar to this loose approach.


This is one hot ticket. A huge chunk of the Squeeze back catalogue, with its wry social observations and well-crafted instrumentation is practically radio standard material these days – Up The Junction, Cool For Cats, Tempted, Hourglass, Take Me I’m Yours, Labelled With Love……’re probably singing them now as you read this. Hear them live in the best wee venue around.

Andy Kershaw performs at The HAC

Friday 15th August 2014

Tickets £10

Available from the HAC box office (no booking fee) or via

A departure from the norm, this is not your usual live music show. We have secured the services of Andy Kershaw, one of the giants of modern-day music and cultural broadcasting, and he’s stopping off in Irvine for what will be the only Scottish show of his critically-acclaimed tour.


Movies rarely imitate real life. If you’ve seen Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, you’ll appreciate that. Through the course of his life, the film charts Forrest as he unwittingly teaches Elvis how to dance from the hips down, rubs shoulders with American Presidents, survives being shot in Vietnam and inspires John Lennon to write ‘Imagine’. Every decade is sound-tracked by some of the best music ever released and Forrest somehow manages to find himself in the right place at the right time, bearing witness to many milestones of the 20th century.


Andy Kershaw is the Forrest Gump of broadcasting journalism.


You may know him these days as the guy in the checked shirt who turns up now and again on BBC1’s The One Show. Perhaps best known for his thick Yorkshire brogue, Andy has graced Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4. His sizeable mantelpiece groans under the weight of more Sony Radio Awards than any other broadcaster in the UK.


Andy has an even heavier record collection. It weighs seven tons.


Andy was Billy Bragg’s tour manager and roadie. He famously helped Billy secure a John Peel session and subsequent record deal by suggesting they personally deliver a curry to the on-air Peel.


He has worked for both Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones. Andy secured Bob Dylan’s first UK TV interview by offering Bob a jar of jam.


Thrust wide-eyed in front of a TV camera, Andy presented Live Aid to an audience of a billion, at one point successfully interviewing internationally-acclaimed actor John Hurt without ever knowing who he was.


In a lifetime of working in music Andy has done it all, but it’s the other stuff that’s happened to and around him that make Andy’s story all the more remarkable.


Andy has visited 97 of the world’s 194 countries.


Andy was the first white journalist to shake Nelson Mandela’s hand on his release from prison, even asking the great man to pose for a photograph whilst an irate official demanded to know how he’d gained access.


Andy fearlessly reported from the burning oil well-heads in Kuwait at the end of the first Gulf War.


Andy owes his life to a gang of boy soldiers who kept him on the right tracks (literally) when he was reporting from the genocide in Rwanda.


Amongst many other things, he’s been banned from entering Malawi, seen his own intestines and turned down £50,000 to appear on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.


Andy Kershaw has written his autobiography. It’s a terrific read. In a unique event, Andy comes to the Harbour Arts Centre to read from it and talk about his life in music broadcasting and journalism. Andy will also be selling and signing copies of his book after the show.


Andy will present a two hour stand-up audio-visual experience, sound-tracked, Forrest Gump-style, by some of the best music ever recorded. He’ll treat the audience to recollections from a life spent on the front lines of rock and roll, and on the front lines of some of the world’s most extreme and dangerous countries. You wouldn’t want to miss it.

Nik Kershaw performs at The HAC

Friday 11th October 2014

Tickets £10

Available from the HAC box office (no booking fee) or via

For music lovers of a certain age, this gig will be keenly anticipated. Much as JJ Gilmour has done for us already this year and what Glenn Tilbrook ticket holders can look forward to in the middle of August, Nik will perform all his hits in a laid-back solo retrospective celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first chart success.


In 1984, Nik Kershaw spent more weeks in the charts than any other solo act on the planet. Stop and think about that for a second. 1984. Madonna. Michael Jackson. Prince. None of them could outstay Nik Kershaw.


I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down, Wouldn’t It Be Good and The Riddle were three of his best-known hits. With their radio-friendly hooks and shiny production those 3 tracks alone practically define the mid 80’s. Add in a big-haired, baggy-trousered crowd-pleasing set at Live Aid and teen idol good looks and you’ll begin to appreciate that Freckfest has come up trumps once again.


Elton John once called Nik Kershaw “the best songwriter of a generation”, a claim that would no doubt be backed up by the many other acts who’ve benefited from Nik’s song-writing skills. Amongst others, Cliff Richard, Bonnier Tyler, Lulu and Ronan Keating have all had chart success thanks to the Kershaw influence. Nik penned The One And Only for Chesney Hawkes, a massive hit Stateside and a number 1 in the UK when the charts still mattered. When Gary Barlow found his mojo had deserted him between Take That albums, it was Nik who he turned to. For a man small in stature Nik Kershaw is a giant of late 20th century pop writing.


Nik’s show will be interspersed with tales from his impressive career, and in a unique twist to the live experience, he will invite audience members to ask him any questions they like. Nik promises to answer them all, “even the potentially awkward ones”. This should make for an interesting evening’s entertainment.


Bring yourself, bring a friend and come armed with an interesting question.


Freckfest's full website will be here shortly!


The Chaplins

Glenn Tilbrook

Andy Kershaw

Nik Kershaw