I think Claire Hastings was definitely the right winner. However, it's the second year in a row that a singer has won, and looking through the list of past winners on the leaflet we were given, an awful lot of them seem to have been singers. One of the criteria that is supposed to be taken into account by the judges is "connecting with the audience", and it's hard not to feel that this gives an unfair advantage to singers. It's surely more difficult for a harpist to directly connect with the audience, for example.
I did go to some of the heats of the Open Stage over the last couple of weeks, so I can post photos from those. I believe one of the six winners is in there somewhere.
You might remember that last year I mentioned a band called The Cask, who were brave enough to sing a pro-Yes song on the Open Stage. Well, this year there were at least two songs lamenting the referendum result. Most memorably, an Edinburgh singer called Bobby Nicholson performed an almost ridiculously in-your-face song called Dear Scotland, It Wisnae Me, which was scathing about No voters. I was worried there might be an embarrassed silence at the end, but in fact it was rapturously received. You can hear it HERE, although you have to scroll through to just over halfway.
While it's fresh in my mind from Saturday night, I can also recommend a version of Karine Polwart's The Dreadful End of Marianna for Sorcery, performed by the North-East Folk Collective, which is a large band comprised of teenagers from...well, from the north-east, strangely enough. You can hear it HERE by scrolling through to just under halfway.
(Click to enlarge.)