Acclaimed singer, songwriter and folk musician Karine Polwart is coming back to Cumnock for a gig next month.

But it will be a much more intimate affair than her concert in the town last year, when she performed with pupils from Robert Burns Academy, Netherthird Primary and Logan Primary - backed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

That event was a highlight of the 2023 Cumnock Tryst festival. And now Karine is returning for her first solo concert in the town on Sunday, March 17.

The performance, in association with the Cumnock Tryst, takes place 3pm in the Dumfries Arms Hotel, with free tickets available for young people and the unemployed, and half price tickets for those in the Cumnock area.

Stirlingshire-born Karine began performing with Malinky and The Battlefield Band before launching her solo career with a string of much-loved albums, which garnered rave reviews in the national and music press.

Ayr Advertiser: Karine working with Netherthird pupilsKarine working with Netherthird pupils (Image: Cumnock Tryst)

And she says she's really looking forward to her Cumnock return.

Karine said: "Last year's concert was wonderful for the young people, getting a chance to play with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra. A lot of professional musicians would have loved that chance.

"I was working with pupils from Netherthird, Logan and Robert Burns Academy. It was a big project and was based on old maps of the local area and seeing how much things have changed - and getting them to look at what the future could look like.

"It was then performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, so I was in Cumnock quite a lot last year, working with the kids for weeks.

Ayr Advertiser: Karine at Netherthird Primary

"I performed with them at Robert Burns Academy and I absolutely loved it, it was a great project.

"I think the kids had a brilliant time. The wee ones were magic and really loved it.

"The older ones at the start were were obviously thinking 'who are you?' but by the end they were working on their own choreography and were completely invested in it. It was a wee journey."

She added: "It will be really nice to get  back to Cumnock for a gig at the Dumfries Arms. I actually stayed there for a while during the project.

"My grandparents lived in Ayr, and I lived in Kilmarnock for a while, but I don't think I had visited Cumnock until last year.

Ayr Advertiser: Karine at Netherthird Primary"I asked if the Dumfries Arms event could be an afternoon gig. Not everybody can attend evening gigs.

"It has been subsidised by the Cumnock Tryst, so kids and the unemployed can go for free. The normal ticket price is £12, but there's a lower rate of £6 for residents from the Cumnock area.

"A lot of music comes to the town during the Cumnock Tryst, but there are not a lot of gig opportunities outside that period.

"And it is great that Sir James MacMillan and the Tryst organisers are investing in that.

"The Tryst is primarily classical music, but they are broadening out. It's good for the musicians and good for the area."

Tickets are selling fast and can be booked at