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Illness forces the Proclaimers to pull out of the Wickham Festival

The Proclaimers have sadly been forced to cancel their show at the Wickham Festival due to illness.

Charlie has lost his voice linked to a perforated ear drum. He has been told to rest by a specialist who has instructed him not to sing this week forcing the band to also cancel their show in Canterbury.

Charlie first began to struggle during last weekend’s appearance at Guildford where the popular Scottish band had to cut two numbers and an encore.

He had hoped it would heal in time for Saturday’s headline set but a visit to a specialist today confirmed his fears.

As a result Eric Bibb will now headline Main Stage 1 on Saturday at 9.30 and the ever-popular Dhol Foundation has been secured for a DJ set to close Main Stage 2 on Saturday night.

Wickham Festival organiser Peter Chegwyn said: “We are desperately disappointed the Proclaimers have had to cancel but there was no option as they could not go against medical advice.

“Having worked with them several times in the past, I know they are consummate professionals and really nice guys so they would not have backed out unless it was absolutely essential.

“We look forward to welcoming them back here in future years but in the mean time we are thrilled the Dhol Foundation have stepped in to save the day with a DJ set thanks to our Festival ambassador Johnny Kalsi. They always go down well so I am sure fans will still enjoy a good night.

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Visiting the children

The enduring popularity of Craig and Charlie has been firmly cemented for one group of Stornoway students.

Craig and Charlie took time during Hebridean Celtic Festival to make a visit to the town’s Macaulay College, where they received cups of tea, home baking and the warmest of welcomes.

The visit was set up on the inspiration of the director of Macaulay College CIC, Roland Engebretsen who says that he was just trying to do what he could for superfan student William. William was so desperate to get the autograph of his idols that he had volunteered at HebCelt, to try and give himself the best chance of bumping into one of them.

Roland said: “I was fairly sure that his chance of getting an autograph that way was slim, and a few of our students are Proclaimers fans, so we contacted the band’s management to ask if they would have time to pop in and see us.

The reply was not only quick, but positive, with the duo saying they would be delighted to come and visit us, although their management warned it would only be for a short time.

Charlie and Craig stayed for almost an hour, talked to everyone and were really interested in being shown round and listening to what the students had to say. They made everyone feel really special and had pictures taken, as well as signing some autographs. Craig and Charlie, and their management, really couldn’t have been nicer says Roland.

Epic night in Leeds


"There was a time when we occasionally had a hit record," Charlie Reid good-naturedly chuckles midway through proceedings. To his right, brother Craig nods in sage agreement. Then they strike up the aching travelogue of Letter from America, and a happy sigh sweeps over the crowd, nestled in nostalgia.

There's something almost gleefully twee about the Proclaimers taken against the landscape of modern pop music.

Formed four decades ago as an acoustically-driven duo, their passage from proudly Caledonian troubadours with an agit-folk streak to surprise terrace anthem favourites and back again has bucked virtually all contemporary trends across the intervening years, and yet they remain preserved in amber; both timeless and out of time, an ageless relic as at home in the past as they are in the present.

This year marks their fortieth anniversary, and yet the language of their iconography remains the same as it always has. Close-cropped barnets, chunky-rimmed glasses, throaty Fife brogues interlocked in curiously honeyed harmony; taken in the soft-focus velvet surroundings of Leeds's Grand Theatre and Opera House, it could just as easily be 1993 as it is 2023.

They ostensibly arrive still in support of last year's Dentures Out, from which they draw a smattering of songs – but over a tight ninety-minute set, this is an affair primarily powered by the fan-favourite hits.

Backed up by a four-piece band as adroit with the lovelorn delicacy of Let's Get Married as the lively bounce of Sky Takes the Soul – one of several tunes from the pair long since entrenched into national cultural consciousness – it is an often-propulsive performance, with little in the way of soapbox theatrics so prevalent amid the current arena rock slate.

The rapid-fire rush through nearly two-dozen tracks can feel particularly breathless at points; even so, it is an approach that seldom shortchanges their best ditties, with the ribald burst of Over and Done With and the anti-honours riposte of In Recognition both particular standouts.

A closing straight in the final half-hour unlocks the big guns; Sunshine on Leith, I'm on My Way, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), all conjuring singalongs of varying beery tones. There's little pause for the frivolity of an extended encore break either, with a hoedown-flavoured romp through The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues to close before the crowd spill out onto New Briggate. It may be an early night, but few will feel shortchanged by Scotland's bespectacled bards.

Take a tram to Leith; it isn't 500 miles

The following was taken from this article.

There was certainly ‘Sunshine on Leith’ last week for the launch of a new tram route to Newhaven, and with services now up and running in the area, fans of Scotland’s most famous rock and pop duo can enjoy convenient travel to their shows over the weekend.

The Proclaimers will take to the stage at Leith Links on Saturday and Sunday and the new Foot of the Walk stop is just a short walk from the venue.  With services from every seven minutes, the Edinburgh Trams team stands ready to help thousands of people to make the most of the brothers’ homecoming gigs.

Lea Harrison, Edinburgh Trams Managing Director, said: “The Proclaimers are amongst the most influential Scottish artist of our time, and we want to make sure fans enjoy hassle-free travel to their shows. This will help them to concentrate on enjoying their favourite hits, such as I’m Going to Be (500 miles) and Letter from America, rather than worrying about being stuck in traffic or finding a parking space.

Being Twins


Craig Reid

THE biggest misconception people have about twins is that we have a telepathic link. There are definitely twins who seem to have something really strange going on, but Charlie and I don't. But we do have similar gut feelings about people and situations - the same instincts. People get us mixed up all the time. It happened more when we were kids, but it still happens now.

Charlie and I are very close, but I don't know if we have got closer as we've got older. We both have families now and have lived apart for more than 20 years. Between us we have seven children - I have four and Charlie has three, and they all get on great.  Is it more difficult for wives and husbands of twins? I don't know. I suppose it depends on the wife or the husband. But when Charlie and I are at home we try to spend time with our families rather than each other. We are together so often when we're working, so when we have time apart it is a relief. When we are relaxing, we don't really need each other's company.

If I had to sum myself up I would say I'm realistically optimistic and still driven. I would describe Charlie as inquisitive, hard-working and occasionally gregarious. How do our personalities differ? It's hard to answer that. You would probably need to get someone who knows both of us to tell you. There are differences in personalities but there are similarities too. Charlie's got a great sense of humour. If there was something that really got my goat about him, it would be difficult to make music together.

A few years ago we were opening for the Canadian band Spirit Of The West in Vancouver. After we came off stage, I said something, Charlie said something, and then he swung for me. I dodged out of the way just in time. But it blew over quickly: Spirit Of The West had asked us to do a song as part of their set, so 20 minutes later Charlie and I were standing at the side of the stage having a beer together. That anecdote probably best sums up our relationship.



ALL our lives, people have seen us as a single entity rather than two individuals. It's always "the boys, the lads, the laddies". It's a corporate thing, a communal identity. That's how we have always been treated and we've come to expect it.

Growing up, I was aware of the dichotomy of being twins. It's a strange feeling in some ways but, of course, we've never known anything else. We don't have any other brothers and sisters. You never really resolve how other people see you as an individual.

I have never wished I wasn't a twin. I've thought about what it would be like but it's not something I have ever wanted. There is power in being a twin - two people are definitely stronger than one. If Craig and I both say "no" to something, it's absolutely not going to happen. If we say "yes", it will. When we decide on something, neither hell nor high water will budge us.

We are close, and you have to be close to work together. When we're on the road we're pretty much together all the time, but it's the same with the bassist, the drummer and the tour manager. We all have to be compatible. I think Craig and I get on well considering we spend so much time together, but it's not an Ant and Dec-type thing. I hate to say we have become defined by what we do, but to some degree it's true. It's hard to differentiate us as twins from us as the twins that play in a band - the speccy Scottish guys.

Music is a big shared interest for us, and football. And we both love reading. Craig probably reads more historical things than I do - he's been right into European history since he was a kid.

If I had to sum myself up in five words, I'd say ambitious, cooperative, uncompromising, aggressive and thoughtful. For Craig? I'd use the exact same ones. I don't think we're that different, really. What I like best about Craig is his devotion to his craft. He can be obstinate, but so can I. The faults he has, I probably have too. Perhaps even more so.

The Proclaimers' new album, Dentures Out, is out now and are currently touring the UK.

Craig Reid, singer and songwriter

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In 1988, we were sitting in a flat in Edinburgh waiting to go up and play a gig in Aberdeen. We had an hour to kill before our lift, so I started playing some chords on the electric piano – and I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) came straight away. I had the tune and lyrics in 45 minutes flat.


I can’t play guitar, so I played it to Charlie and he changed it to those Buddy Holly-type downstrums. It’s not a hard song to play. Right from the start we knew it was catchy, but when we started playing it live the reaction was tremendous. People make all sorts of interpretations of the lyrics – especially the supposed religious significance of 500 miles – but it’s just a love song. I stuck the Scottish word “havering” in there because that’s just what I’d say. It means talking nonsense, but in America one DJ thought we were singing about vomiting.

When we recorded it, the record company didn’t try to stop us singing in our Scottish accents, which had happened earlier in our careers. Yes, our accents are strong, but they make us more distinctive. I never set out to write a song with universal appeal, but it does mention working, drunkenness and travelling, so pretty much anyone can relate to it.

It went to No 1 in Iceland first. I remember being in a restaurant in London and this woman came over and said: “You’re No 1 in my homeland!” New Zealand was next, then Australia, and after that it just went nuts. It reached number 11 in the UK in 1988, but when it got used in the 1993 film Benny and Joon it went to number three in the States and we ended up on every TV show going.


Letter from America and I’m on My Way make good money, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) makes about five times more than the rest of our songs added up. It enables us to make other records and stay on the road, getting the rest of our music out there. I’ve never actually walked 500 miles. I like walking, but that’s a bit much.

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