JULY, 1984, and as the sun shines on George Square in Glasgow the Alkartasuna Basque dance group entertains passersby as it helps to launch the city’s fifth international folk festival.

More than 200 musicians, singers and dancers took part in the week-long event, which had attracted participants and visitors from all over the world, to say nothing of £27,000 in sponsorship from Scottish Brewers.

More than 30 free folk events were being held at Welcome Inn pubs; there were concerts at the Mitchell Theatre, and impromptu sessions at the Govan Shipbuilders yard and at company premises including Weir Pumps.

One of the highlights included a three-day folk session in a tented village for 5,000 at George Square, while two groups, Canto Vivo, from Turin, and HRIM, from Iceland, were scheduled to play aboard the Waverley paddle-steamer for a trip ‘doon the watter’.

“Glasgow has the reputation of smiling better,” said Dave Armstrong, one of the festival organisers. “We are now recognised worldwide as promoting a friendly festival and I’m sure it is going to be a fantastic week of folk music throughout the city.”

The Herald’s noted columnist, William Hunter, was drawn to write about the festival, having noticed the proliferation of unusual musical instruments on the city streets. Some of the groups’ more offbeat names also caught his attention.

“How did the Running Jelly get called that?,” he wondered aloud. “There is a Dick Broad and the Fallen Goats. There is the baffling Diggery Venn among ordinary wholesome porridgy titles like Kentigern and Molendinar.”

The Basque dancers had first been pencilled in for the Glasgow festival when they were spotted playing in Haifa - by none other than members of the Neilston and District Pipe Band, who had happened to be in Israel at the time, Hunter added.