We've used cookies to improve your experience. By viewing our content you are accepting the use of cookies. Read about the cookies we use and how to disable them.


At Bannockburn Live, discover stories which bring our past to life at Storyville, a festival within a festival. Hear about Scotland’s culture and history as it is interpreted and retold by a range of prolific Scottish voices, including enchanting musicians, dynamic authors and respected historians. 

Among the artists on the Storyville Stage on Saturday will be acclaimed singer-songwriters Karine Polwart and Rachel Sermanni, and author James Robertson. On Sunday, listen to words and music from folk star Bella Hardy, Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble, and writer and former Edinburgh Festival Fringe director Alistair Moffat.

Explore Storyville and you’ll find a retreat where you can relax at Bannockburn Live. This creative pocket of the festival has its own bar area stocked with delightful Scottish beverages. Browse through Waterstones pop-up bookshop, packed with a selection of historical and Scottish books. Works by participants of Bannockburn Live will be available to purchase, and many writers will be taking part in scheduled book signings over the course of the weekend.

Embroidery kits based on selected panels from the Great Tapestry of Scotland will also be on sale by Yarns Ecosse. There’s also a chance to try your hand at this traditional skill by adding some stitches to a piece of embroidery which has been inspired the panel commemorating the Battle of Bannockburn of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

For little knights and wee fair maids

Set within Storyville is a bustling programme of children’s workshops and entertainment. Hear untold stories of how the Wars of Independence were fought and won while joining in with sing-a-long songs and battle re-enactments in ‘Bannockbunkum’ by raconteurs Macastory. 

Watch the medieval puppet show, where you’ll come face to face with hilarious characters including Hamish the Highlander and Pickles the Bear,  or listen to a very strange and amusing tale of excess, despair and audacity of Scotland's laziest squire at the ‘Barrels, Bonnets and Bishops’ storytelling session.

Pay a visit to the Living History pagodas and discover Scotland’s past… the fun way! Have a go at making and decorating a crown fit for a king or a queen, and see how knights and medieval ladies would have dressed. Learn about maille and find out what a gambeson is as you discover ancient weaponry. The king’s jester will entertain and amuse as he juggles and excites with his array of stunts and japes – you can see amazing trickery and close up magic! 

The National Trust for Scotland will be on hand to offer activities for budding archaeologists and charcoal artists, young and old. There will also be displays and information on countryside properties, plus more about their archaeology team – you can find out about the methods used to uncover the past.

Discover more brilliant family things to see and do at the Battle & Encampments

Talks and comedy

On each day, listen to some of the country’s foremost thinkers discuss and deliberate some hot topics.

Saturday will see the panel  discuss issues under the theme ‘Now They Are Celebrities’. Although historians may argue and debate historical facts, there’s no doubt certain figures from history have become celebrities, no matter what the reality may be as to what they did or who they really were. Taking a lead from Robert the Bruce, the panel will discuss how historical celebrities are made, where do legends come from, why do we need them? With acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Robyn Young.

‘Dark Tourism - Why we are also attracted to Bad Places’ is the topic for Sunday’s discussion panel. ‘Dark tourism’ is a phrase coined by Professor John Lennon, who will join the panel to discuss how even places with bad connotations and reputations have a deep attraction in modern times. Without dwelling on the morbidity of these fascinations, the debate will focus on how history is very often about the bad times and what this says about us. 

On both Saturday and Sunday, join Vladimir McTavish and Keir McAllister for some jovial entertainment for ‘Aye Right, How No?’. The comedians take on the independence debate in a show that blends stand-up, poetry, spoken word and politics.

Check out the running order of brilliant performances, talks and discussions at Storyville.


Storyville will feature performances from:

Karine Polwart

Described as ‘one of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain’ by The Guardian, Karine Polwart’s talent for crafting unique, enduring melodies and the range and dynamism of her arrangements all come together in songs of powerful contemporary relevance. www.karinepolwart.com

Bella Hardy

Recently crowned ‘Singer of the Year’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, we are thrilled to welcome Bella Hardy to Bannockburn Live. Her interpretations of traditional music and her own song-writing have won her critical and popular acclaim around the globe. www.bellahardy.com

Roddy Woomble

Familiar to many thousands of music fans as the front man in the Scottish rock band Idlewild, Roddy Woomble is also one of Scotland’s most celebrated solo songwriter & performer. Performing poetic lyrics, whilst blending touches of country and folk to beautifully poignant songs. www.roddywoomble.com

Rachel Sermanni

Scotland's most promising and invigorating folk prospect, 22-year-old Rachel Sermanni, will be joining us at Bannockburn Live to display her recent lauded EP, Everything Changes. She brandishes a deeply affecting strain of acoustic singer-songwriter folk, a kind that can veer from chirpy bucolic glee all the way to neo-goth funeral bitterness. Expect her performance to shake your very core. www.rachelsermanni.net

The Precious Penny Pluckers

Stirling-based Americana Swing band The Precious Penny Pluckers are a trio with a story to tell. With jazz guitar influences, evocative double bass and powerful vocals, you'd better bring your dancing shoes.

Alistair Moffat

Born and bred in the Scottish Borders. A former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Director of Programmes at Scottish Television, Alistair now runs the Borders and Lennoxlove Book Festivals and the DNA testing company, BritainsDNA (britainsdna.com). He is also the author of numerous best-selling books and will be joining Bannockburn Live to present fresh insights into the Battle of Bannockburn. www.alistairmoffat.com

James Robertson

James Robertson is unfortunately unable to attend, in his place we will be talking to Susie Finlayson about ‘The Story Behind the Great Tapestry of Scotland’ 

Angus Konstam

Angus Konstam is a widely published and respected military and naval historian, with numerous books to his credit, including the Historical Atlas of the Medieval World. A former Royal Naval officer, maritime archaeologist and museum curator, he holds degrees from three universities, including a Masters degree from St Andrews.

Robyn Young

Robyn Young was born in Oxford and grew up in the Midlands and Devon. Her first novel, Brethren, went straight into the Sunday Times top ten and became the bestselling hardback debut of 2006. Robyn’s new trilogy is based on the life of Robert Bruce. The third novel, Kingdom, will be published in 2014 at the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Alongside writing novels, she has collaborated on a WWII screenplay. Her books have been published in 22 countries in 19 languages and sold over 2 million copies.