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, this year might be a little bit different because of the coronavirus pandemic, but we’re not letting 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 – this year’s Winter Festival events will be taking place virtually. We will be bringing 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.

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.

Let us introduce you to the performers:

Scottish trad music phenomenon, Breabach

Postcards from Scotland: From 25 January 2021 @1pm

Click here to watch the performance on YouTube

Developed by Showcase Scotland Expo, 'Postcards from Scotland' is an exciting collaboration between important cultural festivals from around the world, including the UK, Canada, France and the USA. They will be coming together to offer amazing performances from some of Scotland's best-known traditional music bands. 

In celebration of Burns Night, these musicians will come 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. You wont want to miss it!

Kapil Seshasayee

Scottish Poetry Library: From 29 January 2021 @1PM

Click here to watch the performance on YouTube

As part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals the Scottish Poetry Library present 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.

Previous Events

Jenn Butterworth

Jenn Butterworth & the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Click here to watch the performance on YouTube

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 is no one better placed to kick off this year’s 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 will be mixing spoken word and music and working with students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – one of the world’s top performing arts schools.

Alistair Paterson & Ainsley Hamill

Live Music Now Scotland

Click here to watch the performance on YouTube

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 has a massive impact on this. However, the organisation simply pivoted to an online setup called ‘Together at Home’ and have still been 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 will be providing 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).

Still from Primordial Waters Revisited

Cryptic - Primordial Waters Revisited

Click here to watch the performance on YouTube

Founded in 1994, Cryptic is a world-renowned art house based in Glasgow that hosts some of today’s most innovative and imaginative artists. They develop visually stunning performance pieces that expertly fuse together music, sonic and visual art to create a sight unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

For this year’s Winter Festivals, two of Cryptic’s resident artists are coming together for the first time to present their incredible piece: Primordial Waters Revisited. Visual artist Heather Lander has teamed up with musician and composer Alex Smoke to create this performance, which perfectly reflects the vibrancy and vitality of the Scottish coast.

This shimmering video work explores the magical qualities of water, revealing a swirling weather-pattern of mists and water accompanied by restorative, ritualistic sounds. The effect is both mesmerising and meditative – and a wonderful reminder to slow down and enjoy what nature has to show us.