Edinburgh takes centre stage for St Andrew’s Day

Becca McGovern and Pyroceltica will perform in St Andrew Square. Picture: Julie Bull

Becca McGovern and Pyroceltica will perform in St Andrew Square. Picture: Julie Bull

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Thousands of people are set to flock to the Capital to celebrate the “biggest and best” St Andrew’s Day ever.

Pyrotechnic displays and an ice-skating piper will be among the entertainment as St Andrew Square takes centre stage for Scotland’s national day.

The event will showcase modern and traditional Scottish music, including performances by The Hazey Janes fresh from a tour supporting Deacon Blue.

There will be demonstrations from The Royal Caledonian Curling Club and Murrayfield Skating School, and a fiery St Andrew’s Day-inspired performance from Pyroceltica.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson said this year would be one of “the biggest and best” St Andrew’s Day celebrations the city has ever seen.

He said: “There is something quite special about Scotland’s patriotic saint which resonates with the people of Edinburgh.

“I’m particularly pleased our distinct culture will be celebrated by so many Scottish acts, songs and dances. I hope lots of people take advantage of the free events, and I recommend taking up the free ice-skating lessons which is a great idea in the run-up to Christmas.”

Away from the main stage, audiences can enjoy performances from the Stockbridge Pipe Band, Edinburgh’s Got Soul and the Edinburgh bands Seneka and Under the Dogwood Tree.

The Big Big Sing will be leading an audience sing-along, and the Spiegeltent will play host to traditional Scottish 
storytelling led by well-known author Jess Smith.

The day is also set to include Scottish dance workshops from the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society followed by the family ceilidh hosted by the Robert Fish Band.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “St Andrew’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate all that is great about Scotland this November, including our thriving contemporary culture, our rich heritage and our world-renowned warm and friendly welcome.

“Marking the start of Scotland’s Winter Festivals, once again we are encouraging Scots, and Scots at heart from around the world, to join us in celebrating our national day.

“Here in Edinburgh, special and free entry for an eclectic range of attractions and venues offer the chance for everyone to get involved.”

During the day there will be free entry to Historic Scotland properties including Rosslyn Chapel.

Meanwhile, former lord provost Councillor Eric Milligan has joined forces with former MP and MSP Dennis Canavan to call for St Andrew’s Day to be celebrated by all the people of Scotland, whatever way they voted in the recent independence referendum.

In a joint statement, they stressed the day and the Saltire, which incorporates the St Andrew’s cross, are “not the property of any single group or political party”.

They said: “They should not be hijacked by any political party or group. We call on all the people of Scotland to celebrate our national day, whatever way they voted in the referendum.”