The man behind Scotland’s unofficial national anthem is to headline the Capital’s first major celebration of St Andrew’s Day.
Folk singer Dougie McLean, who penned the classic Caledonia in 1977, will appear at the Scottish Ceilidh Culture festival in the Grassmarket tomorrow. Part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals, it will feature a tune- writing workshop, a children’s ceilidh workshop and traditional storytelling.
McLean will appear on the main stage along with Radio 2 Folk Award nominees Breabach, Louis Abbott and Blazin’ Fiddles.
He said: “A celebration of St Andrew’s Day is well overdue. I think it’s a reflection of Scotland’s self-confidence – that’s something the country hasn’t had a lot of over the years and I’m enjoying watching it grow.
“Edinburgh is a great city and it’s the right place to hold this event.”
A new version of Caledonia, featuring Dundee-based band Anderson, McGinty, Webster, Ward and Fisher, is now being used in a major advertising campaign for Caledonian Best.
McLean, below, who will perform at Stirling Castle on Hogmanay, said: “A lot of younger people are now familiar with the song and it’s great to see it cross the generations.
“If Scotland votes for independence and people want Caledonia to be used as a national anthem, I’ll be very, very chuffed.”
The celebrations will also include a silent disco, with dancers wearing headsets offering either ceilidh tunes or Scottish pop music.
A market will trade throughout the day, offering a range of quality food from locally sourced vegetables, fish and meat to hot food with an international influence.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop hailed the programme as the perfect way to kick off the festivals programme.
“From traditional music and dance to storytelling, it will be a taster of some of the exciting things to come over the next few months,” she said.
Pete Irvine, director of festival organisers Unique Events, said: “This extraordinary celebration of Scottish ceilidh culture brings together some of our greatest traditional musicians to entertain the crowds on Scotland’s National Day.
“It’s the first time that we have celebrated St Andrew’s Day in this way in Edinburgh and it’s a great addition to Scotland’s Winter Festivals.”