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Voice UK winner to play free gigs on Achill

Going Out

GREAT SCOT Stevie McCrorie was catapulted to fame after winning The Voice 2015.

Scottish fireman turned performer to turn up the heat at island festival

Anton McNulty

The people of Achill are in for a treat this weekend when Scottish singer-songwriter Stevie McCrorie plays two gigs on the island – and both are free.
The 2015 winner of The Voice UK, who has entertained thousands at festivals such as T in the Park and Party at the Palace in Scotland, will be playing two free gigs as part of the Kildownet Festival on Achill Island on Friday, August 10, and Saturday, August 11.
Stevie (33) first came to the public’s attention in 2015 when The Voice UK judge Rita Ora flirted with him on the show, which he then went onto win. The success helped catapult his career, allowing the Scottish firefighter to reaching number six in the UK singles charts.
So how does a singer who has played in front of thousands end up playing for free at a small community festival at the edge of the Atlantic? The person to thank is Frank Cairn, whose grandparents came from Achill. The landlord of The Johnstone Arms Hotel in Alva, a small town in central Scotland, Stevie played at his pub before he was famous.
The Johnstone Arms was itself catapulted to fame when The Voice filmed Stevie’s ‘homecoming’ segment in the pub.  
“Stevie is a very talented lad, and when he played in my pub, the place would be packed out. It escalated after he went on The Voice. The next thing I know he phones me and says ‘The Voice are coming up and I want them to film in your pub’. The boys come up with the production and film crews, and the next thing four or five hundred folk turn up. It went boom,” he recalled to The Mayo News, in a strong Scottish accent.
Frank and his family own a house in Derreens on Achill, and one night he got talking to Michael Patten, the organiser of the Kildownet festival.
“Michael was saying they struggled to get big names this far out, and that if you do, you have to pay them an arm and a leg. We are usually over in Achill at that time of the year, and I said to Michael, I’ll ask Stevie to come over to play – and that is what happened.
“I rave about the place [Achill]. I have been coming back since I was in the pram … It is only when you get a bit older that you realise how beautiful it is. I think it is overlooked because it is a bit further out. I have been harping on about it for years and years and saying how great the craic is. Stevie is a genuinely lovely guy and didn’t take much convincing to come over.”
Frank explained that Stevie has a ‘raw, natural voice’ and that he will be playing acoustic guitar. As well playing his own material, he will also sample a few cover tunes.
“He’ll fire it up,” Frank said. “It will be upbeat with his own music and a few of the old Irish classics. Stevie is geed up for it. There is another guy coming over with him, and they are going to put on a good show. The people won’t be disappointed – this guy is amazing.”

Stevie McCrorie will play in The Marquee in Derreens on Friday, August 10, and Saturday, August 11, from 10pm. For more information, see the Kildownet Festival Facebook page.