First-ever ‘Scottish Folk Day’ to be staged as part of Europe-wide culture celebration
It is hoped hundreds of performances and workshops will be staged across the country when the first ever Scottish Folk Day is held in the autumn.
Professional acts, music students, grassroots groups and national organisations are all being urged to stage in-person events or release specially-recorded video content.
Scotland has been instrumental in the creation of the first ever European Folk Day, which will be launched in the wake of the success of recently-launched initiatives like World Gaelic Week, the Scots Language Awards and the Gies A Scots Poem Day.
The wider initiative is aimed at uniting musicians across Europe and embracing the music of all communities, whether “historically indigenous or newly-migrant”.
Supported with European Union funding, European Folk Day is aimed at highlighting how traditional art forms are “an essential part of Europe’s rich cultural spectrum”.
The initiative has been launched by members of the European Folk Network, including the Edinburgh-based Traditional Music Forum (TMF), which is leading the organisation of Scottish Folk Day.
TMF director David Francis said: “Folk music is a huge part of Scotland’s culture and heritage, and is still prevalent in the lives of many Scots today. Scottish Folk Day is a means of celebrating that history, and keeping the tradition alive by connecting people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds who share one common interest.
“All of us at TMF are thrilled to be running the event in Scotland on behalf of the European Folk Network, and can’t wait to see how individuals, groups or indeed entire musical communities come together to help us celebrate on September 23.”
An official announcement on European Folk Day states: “The traditional arts are an essential element of European cultural identity and diversity, a source of wealth of a magnitude we can only begin to imagine.
“There are millions of us who, in one way or another, work, create and actively participate in this fundamental element of our culture. We are a key part of Europe’s cultural richness and distinction. The European Folk Day is the milestone to bring the pan-European community together.
“It is born with the intention of establishing the European Folk Day as a key date in the annual calendar.”
Araceli Tzigane, Spanish board member of the European Folk Network, said: “In Scotland, as in every European community, the traditional arts are essential foundations of cultural heritage and identity.
"Participation in the European Folk Day will be a shared celebration, joining communities across Europe to increase recognition of traditional arts in all their diverse forms.”
Musician Gary Innes, who helped launched Scottish Folk Day, said: “I’ve been so fortunate that I’ve got to travel the world playing traditional music and folk music. It’s about time Scotland got to celebrate in its own way.”
Simon Thoumire, founder of Hands Up For Trad, which was set up in 2002 to champion Scottish traditional music, said: “I love the idea of a Scottish folk day as will bring us all together singing and playing with our friends across Europe.”