Thank you for the music say Benbecula’s music fans

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Fans of super trooper band ABBA are in for a treat this July as tribute act ‘Abba-A-Rival’ are all set to perform at the Eilean Dorcha Festival (EDF).

The latest Islands’ music event will take place on July 29th and 30th at Liniclete Machair, Benbecula.

Abba-A-Rival is Scottish based but has toured all over the world including Russia, Israel, Canada and Europe.

The group contains a team of West End standard singers and musicians, including founder member Leona Marie Skimming, who has had three top-40 hits and sang with many famous names.

Band manager and ‘Agnetha’ Leona Marie, said of the upcoming trip to the Islands: “It will be our very first time to the island and in fact, the first time in the Outer Hebrides for the band so we are Super Trouper excited!

“We will be performing a one hour set of all your favourite Abba songs for the whole festival to sing and dance along to.”

Performing along with Leona Marie are: Andrene Hughes (Frida) Lloyd McAllister (Benny) and Dean Carr (Bjorn).

The Islands may seem remote to some, but as Leona Marie explains the band are pretty used to some far-flung venues.

“The most remote place was probably in Russia where we had to get a rickety plane from Moscow and then drive through farmland to Yakutsk.

“All sorts of animals were roaming the village roads and the tour manager didn’t speak a word of English so we found ourselves using sign language to ask for a toilet break,” she joked.

“As a manager of the band I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world from Japan to festivals in Canada, Israel, Egypt and Europe but there is nothing like playing at home in Scotland. Scottish audiences are by far the best in the world and I’m not being biased. It’s a pleasure to be playing at the Benbecula Festival!”

Well this time around the band needn’t worry about rickety planes, as Islands’ airline Loganair, is officially backing the festival by transporting Abba-A-Rival to the event on a pro-bono basis.

The airline will also be offering assistance to Stornoway’s HebCelt festival, with the carrier extending complimentary seats to headline act, Eddi Reader and her band.

Roy Bogle, Loganair’s director of revenue and scheduling said: “We’re very much looking forward to both of these major events for the Outer Hebrides.

“The islands play host to a wealth of culture and these festivals will showcase their vibrancy.

“Loganair is firmly committed to supporting the communities where it operates and we’re keen to help festivals throughout the Highlands and Islands.”

EDF is a two-day music event which includes live performances from top level artists, workshops, open stage sessions, family activities, dancing, food, drink and merchandise sales.

As well as Abba-A-Rival this year’s acts include Donnie Munro and Friends, Skipinnish, The Vatersay Boys, Stop The Clocks, Resurrection, Trail West, The Tailormade, Chunks and Soladale.

Roddy Mackay, Eilean Dorcha Festival organiser said: “I’d like to thank Loganair for offering this assistance to help with the festival’s inaugural year. Support from businesses working in the community play an important part in establishing a major event.”