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Music to my peers

Press release   •   Jan 26, 2017 15:21 GMT

Millennial Scots are being encouraged to connect with the Spirit of Scotland through an innovative VisitScotland marketing campaign highlighting our dynamic musical heritage.

Throughout 2017, the national tourism organisation will inspire young Scots to engage with their country’s exhilarating contemporary traditional (Trad) music scene and discover the many amazing and unique Trad concerts and festivals held across Scotland, as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

The campaign aims to tap into the millennial Scots visitor market which is worth on average £267 million a year to the Scottish economy.

The national tourism organisation unveiled its Trad music campaign at the launch of The List’s annual supplement The Guide to Scotland’s Festivals 2017 as part of Showcase Scotland today (Thursday, 26 January).

The campaign will include targeted social media promotion on sites such as Facebook, Spotify and Unruly, with electronic Celtic fusion band, Niteworks, who hail from the Isle of Skye, providing the soundtrack to an emotive promotional film.

In addition, a dedicated page on will highlight a calendar of Trad events and showcase some of the bands which are setting the scene alight. As a social campaign, the initiative is set to achieve extended reach via supporters which have included Creative Scotland, Hands Up for Trad, BBC Alba and promoters and friends of Scottish music.

The contemporary Trad music scene has gone from strength to strength, surprising and engaging audiences around the globe, as more and more exciting young performers take to the stage to embrace this part of their Scottish heritage and make it their own. Bands such as Treacherous Orchestra, Niteworks, The Peatbog Faeries, Manran, Skerryvore and Skippinish continue to attract growing audiences of young Scots.

Stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill’s film The Ridge, which has been viewed almost 50 million times on Youtube, features an example of the innovation at the heart of this evolving musical scene, beguiling audiences with a Scottish Celtic fusion soundtrack by the late composer Martyn Bennett, the inspiration behind so many of Scotland’s young artists.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Of all aspects of our rich Scottish heritage I think it must truly be in our music that we see the true spirit of Scotland come to life.

“Scotland is home to a fantastic array of music festivals which provide a platform for our exciting and evolving traditional music scene. We want to share this incredible part of our culture with our young people and show the changing face of traditional music, in the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology.

“This year Scotland will celebrate both our tangible and intangible heritage – everything from our buildings and archaeological sites to our diverse stories, traditions and culture – of which our traditional music is a key part.

“With millennial Scots already spending £267 million each year travelling in Scotland, there is huge market potential for our traditional music events to tap into.”

Simon Thoumire, Creative Director of Hands Up for Trad, which promotes Scottish traditional music, said: “Scotland is a connected country. People, young and old, understand our culture and feel close to it. In our bones we all understand Trad music and its amazing energy and we all know how to dance a Dashing White Sergeant.

“We welcome this campaign from VisitScotland. Trad music is the spine of Scotland and it is an amazing tool to connect our young people with our culture and heritage.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland said: “When I look at Scotland’s Trad music scene, I see young talent grabbing the spotlight with both hands. We have fantastic young singers, fiddlers, accordionists, pipers and instrumentalists of every type and all of them are leading our cultural heritage towards a bright future.

“Creative Scotland is committed to funding the next generation of Trad culture, ensuring that our young musicians get the space to perform at festivals here and abroad, step up to the next level by recording their debut album and receive opportunities to collaborate with established names from the folk sector.

“It’s only a matter of time before young gig-going audiences realise that their peers on the Trad scene are among the coolest and most exciting musicians that this country has to offer.”

Ruairidh Graham, Drummer from Niteworks, said: “Scotland has experienced a sea change in musical culture, and the lead on this has undoubtedly been the Trad and folk scene.

“In our lifetimes, we have been fortunate to have witnessed the evolution of the Trad music scene from small, niche corners, to being front and centre of the country's musical landscape. This has had a huge impact, particularly amongst a young generation of musicians who have gained the confidence to take pride in their musical heritage, and to experiment with it in various ways.

“We are fully supportive of VisitScotland's campaign to recognise the value that traditional music adds to Scotland, and to promote the variety of amazing festivals dotted around that are supporting artists and musicians, young and old, to revel in our shared musical heritage.”

Between 2013 and 2015 there were on average 177,000 trips from across the UK to music festivals in Scotland, worth £65 million to the Scottish economy. Between 2013 and 2015 there were on average 402,000 trips to music concerts, bringing in £117 million.

The Trad music campaign forms part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, which will focus on delving into Scotland’s past and telling its stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector.

Some of this year’s festivals with links to Trad music are:

  • Celtic Connections – January/February - Glasgow
  • TradFest – April – Edinburgh
  • Mull Music Festival – April
  • Shetland Folk Festival – April/May – Lerwick
  • Knockengorroch World Ceilidh – May – Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway
  • Orkney Folk Festival – May – Orkney, Stromness
  • Islay Festival of Music & Malt – May/June
  • Oban Live – June – Oban, Argyll
  • Eden Festival – June – Dumfries and Galloway
  • Keith Music Festival – June - Keith, Aberdeenshire
  • Fèis an Eilein – July/August – Sleat, Skye
  • Tiree Music Festival – July – Tiree, Hebrides
  • ButeFest – July – Rothesay, Argyll
  • Stonehaven Folk Festival – July – Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
  • Hebridean Celtic Festival – July – Stornoway, Hebrides
  • Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival – August – Beauly, Inverness
  • Piping Live! - August – Glasgow
  • Skye Live – September – Portree, Skye
  • Blas Festival – September – Highlands
  • Bowfest – September – Inveraray, Argyll
  • Jura Music Festival – September – Jura, Hebrides

For more on the Trad campaign go to

To watch the promotional film go to

Notes to Editors

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    2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
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