Scotland’s Winter Festivals is a key part of Scotland’s cultural calendar, celebrating three of Scotland’s most important dates – St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night. Renowned both at home and around the world for providing unmissable events and unforgettable memories, Scotland’s Winter Festivals are quite simply the perfect celebration of our rich culture and heritage.
Sure, last year was a little bit different because of the coronavirus pandemic, but we’re didn't let that stop us doing what we do best – putting on a great show and having a good time. That’s why – for the first time ever – the 2020 Winter Festival events took place virtually. We brought some of Scotland’s best performers to the comfort of your own home, with a selection of stunning performances across music, poetry, visual art and more. This year we are back with some fantastic virtual events to celebrate St Andrew's Day 2021!
So, we invite you to curl up on the sofa, get that tartan blanket out, pour yourself a wee dram of whisky and enjoy the shows.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Traditional Music course is the UK’s only Bachelor of Music degree dedicated to traditional and folk music and welcomes students from around the world including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and around the UK.
Join students from the course in their celebration of St. Andrew’s Day. This performance includes an array of musicians performing music from our homeland and is presented by fiddle player Claudia Edwards.
Live Music Now Scotland
Live Music Now Scotland brings the joy and pleasure of high-quality live music to people the length and breadth of Scotland, especially those who would otherwise not have such opportunity. At the same time, it offers professional development through performing and training to exceptionally talented musicians building their emerging careers in Scotland.
Two acts from Live Music Now Scotland have recorded special performances for our St Andrew’s Day celebrations this year. Both of these acts are taking part in a series of outreach concerts organised in partnership with the Scottish Government, sharing their music with hospitals and care homes in London, Paris, Brussels and Dublin.
Sally Simpson & Catriona Hawksworth
Sally Simpson and Catriona Hawksworth form a dynamic fiddle and piano duo, influenced by Scottish music and traditions from further afield. In their recording for St Andrew’s Day, they bring together the old and the new, performing some traditional tunes along with an original piece composed by Catriona dedicated to a place close to her heart.
Shortlisted for BBC Radio Scotland’s Singer-Songwriter of the Year Award 2019, Moteh Parrott is a Scottish alternative-indie artist. His performance of three original songs combines thoughtful lyrics and delicate guitar, with a sound that’s been likened to a “Highland wilderness.”
Postcards from Scotland
Developed by Showcase Scotland Expo, 'Postcards from Scotland' was an exciting collaboration between important cultural festivals from around the world, including the UK, Canada, France and the USA. They came together to offer amazing performances from some of Scotland's best-known traditional music bands.
In celebration of Burns Night, these musicians came together to to reflect on their own connections with Scotland's national poet and how his legacy inspired their work. Included in this series are some of Scotland's biggest trad music bands, including Breabach, Elephant Sessions, Niteworks, Skerryvore and many more.
Scottish Poetry Library
As part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals the Scottish Poetry Library presented a special a pass the mic session hosted by Vic Galloway (BBC Radio Scotland). Drawing on the spirit of Burns for a fresh mix of spoken word, music and poetry. Featuring poetry from Victoria McNulty, Kevin Gilday and Courtney Stoddart, and music from Girl Who Cried Wolf, Kapil Seshasayee and Sorren Maclean with Hannah Fisher.
Jenn Butterworth & the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Jenn Butterworth is one of the most notable folk guitarists in the UK acoustic music scene and has collaborated with musicians from around the world including France, Germany, USA, China, Canada - to name just a few. Known for producing music based on the themes of fairness, kindness, inclusivity and empowerment, there was no one better placed to kick off the 20/21 Winter Festival events.
Jenn currently holds the title of ‘Musician of the Year’ from the Scots Trad Music Awards and was nominated for the same title in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. In this performance, she mixed spoken word and music and worked with students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – one of the world’s top performing arts schools.
Live Music Now Scotland
Founded by legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1977, Live Music Now offers amazing opportunities to young, professional musicians, while at the same time bringing the joy and pleasure of music to people who otherwise might not have such an experience. This initiative extended to Scotland in 1984 and now involves over 100 musicians, playing a variety of different styles of music and reaching the heart of local communities throughout the country.
Each year, Live Music Now would deliver more than 500 live events throughout the country, but the coronavirus pandemic had a massive impact on this. However, the organisation simply pivoted to an online setup called ‘Together at Home’ and were still able to achieve amazing successes. Amongst them, a set of 62 specially recorded video concerts focused on wellbeing, which continued to give emerging freelance artists much needed paid work.
They provided an incredible pre-recorded performance of Scottish music, featuring Kilda (fiddle; pipes; guitar/Gaelic vocals), Ainsley Hamill/Alistair Paterson (Gaelic/Scots song and keyboard) and Aves O’May (fiddle and clarsach).