Musical instruments

  • Aberlour Highland Games

    Taking place on the first Saturday of August, is Aberlour Highland Games. Set in an idyllic setting, on the banks of the Spey, in the beautiful little village of Aberlour, the Games attract more than 5,000 visitors annually. An afternoon celebrating all things Scottish. Including the usual Heavy Weight events, Track & Field, Highland dancing, and performances from a number of pipe bands. You can even take part in a 'Haggis Hurling Competition' Great day out for all the family. ... Read More

  • Beltane Festival

    Beltane is an ancient Gaelic holiday celebrated around 1 May, historically celebrated in Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. It is a fire festival that celebrates the coming of summer and the renewed fertility of the coming year.The festival survives in folkloric practices in these nations (and the diaspora), and has experienced a degree of revival in recent decades, not only in the British Isles, but also in countries further afield such as the USA. The word Beltane is thought to have derived from a Gae... Read More

  • Celtic Connections

    Celtic Connections is a music festival, showcasing a broadly ‘Celtic’ style. The types of music include modern Celtic rock, dance, big bands, choral performances, international folk superstars, and theatre, as well as traditional pipe bands and ceilidhs. The festival started in 1994 in Glasgow and is now held there every January. In terms of participation, the first festival was launched in just one venue, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, attracting around 35,000 people. In 2008, approximately 120,000 pe... Read More

  • Cockenzie and Port Seton Gala

    Cockenzie and Port Seton Gala day is held annually on a Saturday at the end of May/beginning of June. Floats carrying fancy dress contestants and local Primary School children selected to be ‘the court’: ‘Queen’, ‘Ladies in waiting’, 'Queen’s Escort’ and assorted followers. All move off in a parade through the villages of Port Seton and Cockenzie starting at the Port Seton Centre. The first stop on the route is to lay a wreath at the local war memorial on the green. The parade then contin... Read More

  • Common Ridings / Riding of the Marches

    Several towns of the Scottish Borders (and other areas in the south of Scotland) have festivals related to the historical tradition of ridng a town or Burgh's boundaries. Todays festivals attract many visitors, but most of the lesser ones only started in the 1930s and later and are not actually 'Common Ridings'. The Common, often gifted to the burgh by the King of Scots, had to be ridden on a regular basis to ensure that no neighbouring barons had breached the boundaries. These were not, like today, stone w... Read More

  • Comrie Flambeaux

    As the bells ring out on Hogmanay people line the streets of the Perthshire village of Comrie to watch their annual procession welcoming in the New Year. A pipe band leads marchers carrying flaming torches (made of long thick birch poles with tarred rags tied to the top) who are followed by the fancy dress parade. At the end of the proceedings the torches are thrown over the Dalginross Bridge into the River Earn (traditionally believed to cast out of evil). Everyone then gets on with another more widespread... Read More

  • Eaglesham Fair

    This biennial fair seems to have its origins in several fairs and shows dating back to the 17th century. In 1672, after a successful petition to the Scottish Parliament by the 8th Earl of Eglinton, an act was passed authorising a yearly fair on the 24th April as well as a weekly market in the kirk toun of Eaglesham. The kirk toun was gaining in importance as the centre for a scattered community of around 126 ferm touns. The act mentions that Eaglesham was an ideal place for a fair and market due to the f... Read More

  • Edinburgh Festival

    The Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for various simultaneous arts and cultural festivals which take place during August and early September each year in Edinburgh. These festivals are arranged by a number of formally unrelated organisations, meaning that there is no single event officially termed the Edinburgh Festival. The oldest festivals are the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, both of which started in 1947. Other more recent additions include the Military Tat... Read More

  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe

    Since it started in 1947, as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, 'The Fringe' has grown to become the world's largest arts festival. The festival covers a wide range of arts, including theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre. opera and others. The Fringe runs for approximately three weeks in August.... Read More

  • Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

    Since it started in 1978, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival has become a major fixture of the city's summer season, attracting the largest audience of any jazz festival in the UK. There are now over 100 concerts during the festival, covering a wide range of jazz and blues forms. ... Read More

  • Edinburgh Mela

    Mela is a sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ and is used to describe festivals in the Indian subcontinent.The Scottish Mela festivals are multicultural arts festivals that, while having their roots in South Asian culture, can now best be seen as celebrating wide diversity of cultural life in Scotland, featuring dance, music, crafts, food and fashion, not just from South Asia, but from all over the world. There are two annual Mela festivals in Scotland: one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh. Edinburgh Me... Read More

  • Ferry Fair Edinburgh

    As the fair's website states, Queensferry’s annual Fair has been held in its present form since 1930, when it was revived after some years of absence as a regular event. But its roots date back even further for permission to hold the event was originally granted by King Charles 1 back in the year 1687. The Fair is a week-long event and is organised primarily as a festival of sports and entertainments for the children of the burgh, culminating in the crowning of a Ferry Fair Queen who is chosen from the ch... Read More

  • Glasgow Mela

    Background : Mela is a sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ and is used to describe festivals in the Indian subcontinent.The Scottish Mela festivals are multicultural arts festivals that, while having their roots in South Asian culture, can now best be seen as celebrating wide diversity of cultural life in Scotland, featuring dance, music, crafts, food and fashion, not just from South Asia, but from all over the world. There are two annual Mela festivals in Scotland: one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh. ... Read More

  • Golden Spurtle Competition

    The annual World Porridge Making Championships take place in Carrbridge, a small village in the Invernessshire. The competition (organised by the Carrbridge and Vicinity Community Council) in its 17th year will take place on 'World Porridge Day', Sunday 10th October 2010. For more information on the event go to the Golden Spurtle website at http://www.goldenspurtle.com/. Watch an excellent short film of the 2009 Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship (Carrbridge Films) at http://www.youtube.com/c... Read More

  • Grand March

    The Grand March is still occasionally performed - to the accompaniment of bagpipes or (in places such as Shetland and Orkne)a band - as the first 'dance' at a Scottish wedding. Strictly, more of a march than a dance it is led by the bride and groom followed by the maid of honour (chief bridesmaid) and best man then both sets of parents followed by the wedding guests. Variations may continue elsewhere in Scotland ... Read More

  • Hawick Common Riding

    Hawick is the first of the Border Common-Ridings or festivals commemorating the custom of riding the boundaries of each parish or ‘march’. It also commemorates the townsmen’s capture of an English Flag in the early 16th century. The main Riding part of the festivities takes place over a Friday and Saturday in June. The lead figure is an elected ‘Cornet’, a young local man who carries out several ‘ride-outs’ in the area over the weeks preceding the main ‘common riding’ event with his suppor... Read More

  • Islay Pipe Band

    The Isle of Islay in the Inner Hebrides has a long tradition of pipe music. For almost two decades, the Islay Piping Society has been a significant feature of this longstanding musical heritage. Although history shows the formation of a pipe band in the early 1950’s, it wasn’t until 1992 that islanders decided to start the current Islay Pipe Band, which was then formed and registered with the Royal Pipe Band Association in Glasgow. The band - which holds regular weekly practices- plays at numerous local... Read More

  • Lanimer Day

    One of the conditions of Lanark being granted a Royal charter by King David I - thus becoming a Royal Burgh - was that the Burgesses of the town were required to examine their ‘March’ or boundaries every year and report back to the Crown. Lanark has carried this out every year since 1140, developing the ‘Land Marches’ into an annual celebration, "The Lanimers". The Monday evening marches (formerly done on horseback) now draw crowds of people. A Lord Cornet (the Standard Bearer) is chosen every ye... Read More

  • Masons' Walk at Rosehearty

    Natives of Rosehearty are drawn back to the town for this annual march, doubling its population for the day. 100 to 150 Masons take part, mostly from the local Masonic 'Lodge' but with representatives from other Lodges. The 'Walk' starts from the Lodge and progresses along the route through the town's streets arranged in order of: the March 'Marshall' and Director of Ceremonies followed by the bible bearer with sword bearers, the Pipe Band,junior and senior Deacons, ordinary Lodge members then Lodge Office-... Read More

  • Neilston Cattle Show

    The Neilston Cattle Show takes place annually on the 1st Saturday in May and brings together the entire community of this East Renfrewshire village. The first show took place in 1825 and its origins are in the cattle fairs which took place in the village several times a year. However, there are also two recorded explanations for it. The first is that two local farmers were having a dispute over who had the best prize bull. This turned into a contest to be judged by other local farmers and this in turn be... Read More

  • Papa Stour Sword Dance

    Papa Stour, Shetland, is famous for the Papa Stour Sword Dance, which portrays the seven saints of Christendom, the finale of which is a shield of interlocking swords. This dance was popular in the Middle Ages, known throughout Europe in different forms and described in Brugge The latest performance of the dance on the island was on the occasion of the official opening of the Stofa by the County Mayor of Hordaland, Norway, in August 2008. ... Read More

  • Police Pipe bands

    The tradition of Police Pipe bands extends beyond Scotland and across the world (particularly North America). As well as being called upon to play in public marches, processions and festivals (see Northern Constabulary photograph above), bands compete in Pipe Band Championships. They range in age from some relatively recently formed to those such as Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band which goes back to1882... Read More

  • Samhuinn

    Samhuinn was an ancient Gaelic harvest festival, marking the arrival of winter. An annual event on Edinburgh's Royal Mile reimagines and celebrates what was a highly significant event in the ancient Celtic calendar. An important element of Samhuinn was the belief that this time of the year was a liminal zone where the barrier between the lands of the dead and living was less distinct than during the rest of the year.... Read More

  • Scots Fiddle Festival

    The festival, which takes place over a November weekend (Friday to Sunday) in the Assembly Roooms, Edinburgh, is run by the Scots Fiddle Festival Ltd, with the aim of promoting and sustaining traditional fiddle music. It features a variety of concerts, recitals and workshops. ... Read More

  • Scottish Wedding

    The Scottish Wedding Reception Most Scottish weddings take place in mid to late afternoon and are then followed by a formal reception or party with a wedding meal. At the wedding meal toasts are made to the bride (by the Groom) and to the bridesmaids (by the 'Best Man' - the Groom's best friend and assistant). Speeches are usually made by the Bride's father and, occasionally nowadays, by the bride. Later in the evening the wedding dance begins, led by the bride and groom who are then joined in the 'first... Read More

  • Temperance Flute Walk

    'The Walk' - 3 days of temperance walks - is held every year at the Buchan Rathen coastal villages of St Combs, Inverallochy and Cairnbulg in the North East of Scotland. Local walkers, led by flute players and people playing drums and triangles, have been carrying out this tradition for 160 years. The first couple to walk behind the flute band is the oldest man of the village with a female partner, followed by other walkers. Once one village has been ‘walked’ walked round the walkers get on buses and wa... Read More

  • The Meadows Mummers; tradition with a difference.

    Among the practitioners in this field are The Meadows Mummers. This Edinburgh-based all-female group have taken the traditional folk drama “Galoshins” (in all its various spellings) and updated it with a modernised and expanded script, written in rhyming couplets, while still respecting its traditional form and Commedia dell'Arte roots. It was associated with Hogmanay, but the Mummers largely perform at community festivals in the summer, so performances are open-air. Through collaborations with the... Read More

  • Tradfest

    Each year Edinburgh is home to Tradfest TradFest celebrates Scotland’s May festivals – Beltane and Mayday – which traditionally mark the beginning of summer, bringing energy and colour to the capital city as the greening of the year breaks out. Venues include Calton Hill, the Royal Mile, The Pleasance, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Filmhouse, Queens Hall, Summerhall, George Square Theatre and Dance Base. The TradFest Trail highlights craft shops, galleries, pub sessions, instrument makers, book... Read More

  • Tranent Gala Day

    The gala, featuring music, games, stalls and displays, traditionally occurs at the beginning of June in the East Lothian town of Tranent.... Read More

  • Wallace Day

    The life of William Wallace is commemorated every year in August on the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of his death. The day starts with a march from Johnstone to the site of his birth in Elderslie beside the monument. A wreath is laid at the monument and there are speeches celebrating his life. The day ends with a ceilidh in the village hall. Sir William Wallace was born around 1270. He rose to prominence in the late thirteenth century as a leader in Scotland’s first war of independence with Edwa... Read More

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