Staff and Tutors 2021



Hello there,

Inspired by a series of songwriting retreats I'd run with Karine Polwart at Scotland's Creative Writing Centre Moniack Mhor, my experiences as a participant at Arvon's Totleigh Barton retreat and the UK Songwriting Festival I decided to set up a weekend of songwriting workshops in Glasgow. 

Before you scroll down and read about this years team there are a couple of things I'd like you to know about Glasgow Songwriting Festival and how I choose your tutors. I suppose you could call this a mission statement or a manifesto.

I don't pick tutors simply because they're famous songwriters. I pick them because they are excellent communicators. I pick them because they have proven time and time again that they are willing to share their skills with others. I pick them because they can adapt their inspirational workshops to include any participant... in short they are excellent educators and you're going to learn loads.

The second thing I noticed as a participant was that the men outnumbered the women three to one. In fact there were no female tutors at UKSWF the year I attended. The last two years I have made gender balance a priority as I think that if we are to address the enormous gender imbalance in the music industry we need to start here at a grass roots level.

Finally I was lucky enough to receive funding to attend my week long songwriting retreats. That's a luxury 

I don't take for granted. Top of my agenda is always your value for money. I need you to leave the festival inspired, invigorated and ready to sign up for next year.

I receive no funding. This goes ahead because I take a financial risk. If you are on low income or feel you would like to attend but cannot afford it please reach out to me (my email is all over this site) and I will see what I can do to help you. In 2021 we are asking anyone who feels they can afford it to "Pay it Forward" and contribute a little (or a lot) extra to help fund or partially fund places on the course for those who are unable to attend for financial reasons.

Please scroll below and read what your tutors have been up to. I think you'll be surprised at the scope of their achievements.

Findlay Napier

Festival Director



Festival Director

Nominated as Live Act of the Year and twice nominated Composer/Songwriter of the Year at the Scot's Trad. Music Awards. His album "VIP:Very Interesting Persons" was voted #2 Folk Album of the Year by The Telegraph. He was invited to speak and perform at the International Teaching Artists Conference in New York in 2018. He has run numerous songwriting workshops and retreats. In 2021 he organised a series of Creative Scotland funded workshops with Boo Hewerdine called Bird on a Wire for musicians affected by the Corona Virus pandemic.

032019 DV Union Chapel Gig Musician Stag


Songwriting Tutor

Donna makes a living from songwriting via less conventional means, acting as a musical conduit for many without a voice, including people who have lived experience of criminal justice, homelessness and mental health issues. She has extensive songwriting teaching experience, including the development of over 160 hours of songwriting curriculum for The Academy of Music and Sound. She currently leads the award-winning youth songwriting project Ensemble and is developing new song material of her own under the mentorship of Tracyanne Campbell thanks to a Creative Scotland Award in 2020. Donna also plays keys and sings for Glasgow band, Camera Obscura.

Screenshot 2021-03-18 at 12.06.52.png


Songwriting Tutor

Reg’s clever and imaginative lyrics have earned him the title of  “Master Storyteller” (PennyBlack Music) and led Mike Harding (Mike Harding Folk Show) to introduce him onto the stage of The Royal Albert Hall as  “one of the finest singer-songwriters this country has produced”. Whether it’s a village hall or the Albert Hall, Reg brings to the stage a collection of extremely beautiful songs, performed with humour and depth, and sung with the voice of an angel. Reg has that rare gift of being able to touch people, through his songs and performance, on a really human level. His words and music paint pictures that remain with the listener long after the song has been sung.


Emily Barker

Songwriting Tutor

Emily Barker is an award-winning singer-songwriter, best known as the writer and performer of the theme to the BBC’s hugely successful crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. She has released music as a solo artist as well as with various bands and collaborations including The Red Clay Halo, Vena Portae, Marry Waterson and Applewood Road (with whom she released a remarkable album of original songs recorded live around a single microphone, dubbed “flawless” by The Sunday Times) and has written for film, including composing the soundtrack for Jake Gavin’s lauded debut feature Hector starring Peter Mullan and Keith Allen.

Emily Barker’s new album A Dark Murmuration of Words was released on September 4th 2020. Lyrically probing, by turns both dark and optimistic, Barker searches for meaning through the deafening clamour of fake news and algorithmically filtered conversation, delivering a timely exploration of the grand themes of our age through the lens of what it means to return “home.” 

On its release, A Dark Murmuration of Words hit number 1 on the Official Americana Album chart in the UK and has garnered widespread acclaim.