Nationwide festival to bring musicians to the ‘doorstep’ of fans across Scotland over the next year

A new nationwide music festival featuring more than 120 different acts will be staged in village halls, community centres, town halls and rural arts venues under a project aimed at kick-starting a post-pandemic revival of the Scottish music industry.

Singers, musicians, bands and event organisers will be brought to the “doorstep” of music fans for the first time in many parts of the country under the new Scotland on Tour initiative.

Shows are expected to breathe new life into little-known venues and under-utilised spaces the length and breadth of the country.

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Scotland on Tour will effectively create a new touring map encompassing more than 100 different locations, including Glenelg and Arisaig, in the West Highlands, Aboyne and Braemar, in Aberdeenshire, and Findhorn, in Moray.

Brownbear singer Matt Hickman launches 'Scotland on Tour' at The View, in Oban, one of more than 100 venues hosting gigs over the next year.

The Scottish Government is ploughing £750,000 into Scotland on Tour, which will see more than 350 gigs staged over the course of 12 months after the opening night in Oban on April 6 with trad stars Eilidh Shaw and Ross Martin.

Acts confirmed for Scotland on Tour so far include indie-rock act Brownbear, West Highland folk favourites Daimh, punk group Foreignfox, trad groups Eabhal and Project Smok, Heron Valley and Hebrides-based festival favourite Pictish Trail.

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The line-up features the singer-songwriters Calum Beattie, Kirsten Adamson, James Grant, Roseanne Reid, Elaine Lennon, Adriana Spina and Elsa Jean McTaggart.

Other gigs will star jazz musicians Tommy Smith, Fraser Fifield, Graeme Stephen and Fergus McCredie.

Brownbear frontman Matt Hickman is one of more than 120 different artists taking part in the Scotland on Tour festival across the country over the next year.

The initiative, which was developed by the Glasgow-based agency Active Events while prolonged lockdown curbs were in place in Scotland, will allow shows to be staged in brand new venues and parts of the country which are often left off touring schedules for financial reasons.

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It is aimed at helping the music industry overcome problems caused by a huge backlog of concerts postponed since the start of the pandemic, boost rural economies and reduce the need for audiences to travel long distances.

Initially announced in August last year, Scotland on Tour invited applications for funding for gigs across Scotland. Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, XpoNorth and South of Scotland Enterprise were all represented on the decision-making panel.

Among the venues featuring in the Scotland on Tour festival are West Barns, in East Lothian, Bathgate in West Lothian, Knoydart, in Lochaber, Lochwinnoch, in Renfrewshire, Rosehall, in Lanarkshire, Galashiels, in the Borders, and Crail and Dunfermline, in Fife.

Active Events director Lisa Whytock said: “This new initiative is a bold vision for recovery for Scotland’s live music industry and an opportunity for artists, promoters and technical crews to thrive once again.

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"The backlog of postponed and cancelled shows over the last two years has made it very difficult for artists to book new concerts and this is where Scotland on Tour comes in, providing much-needed opportunities for exciting acts to showcase their music.

“Gig-goers will also have the chance to see the best of Scottish music right on their doorstep. This will be particularly beneficial to underused venues and rural performance spaces where we will be breathing life back into these fantastic settings.”

Scottish culture minister Neil Gray said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for performers and promoters to get back in front of live audiences and for people to back our creative communities.”