2020 is the Year of Scotland: Here’s What to Expect

Tom Morris & Rick Roser, Year of Scotland in Australia Launch
Tom Morris & Rick Roser, Year of Scotland in Australia Launch

For starters, 150 performances throughout Australia during the first three months of 2020…

Music lovers, this one’s for you. 2020 marks The Year of Scotland, when the largest showcase of traditional Scottish music and heritage will take place throughout Australia.

Taking place over 12 months from December 31st 2019 until and including December 31st 2020, hundreds of performances of Scotland’s finest Traditional, Gaelic and Celtic musicians will take the stage. In just the first three months between January and March 2020 there will be 150 performances at over 70 festivals and venues in more than 60 towns and cities.

The year-long festival is backed by Creative Scotland, VisitScotland, The Scottish Government and The Glenturret whisky, with the working partnership’s goal to create demand for continued Scottish performances beyond 2020, and encourage more Australians to visit Scotland.

“The Year of Scotland in Australia is a phenomenal opportunity to further Scotland’s enduring relationship with Australia, with musicians from both sides of the globe sharing our dynamic traditional music scene,” said Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs. “With this shared investment, festival visitors will be introduced to our music, heritage and culture.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland added: “Australians have a close affinity to Scotland and its reflected in the huge and increasing numbers who travel to our shores each year. The Year of Scotland in Australia is a fantastic way for our friends here to sample Scotland’s vibrant arts, music and cultural scene and maybe provide that spark of inspiration for those yet to visit and experience it for themselves.

“More than 119,000 Australian residents were born in Scotland, while over two million claim Scottish ancestry, underlining the genuine shared heritage between our two nations. This program of events will showcase some of the best of Scottish talent and is an ideal way to celebrate that strong and long-standing bond.”

With many more to be announced in the New Year, the program already features the world-renowned Capercaillie, alongside Elephant Sessions and multi-award winning Breabach, as well as Moishe’s BagelRuraThe LanganbandThe Jellymans Daughter, and rising stars such as Brìghde ChaimbeulFara, and Siobhan Miller.

Many of the acts have strong roots in their cultural heritage whilst also drawing upon other musical genres such as rock, jazz, classical and pop.  This diversity in music will showcase the Scotland’s living tradition–contemporary, confident and hugely appealing to audiences at home and abroad. 

From The Glenturret Burns Night Supper on January 25, during which Scottish tradition will meet Australian Indigenous culture at Sydney’s Opera House, and a 27-date Scottish Towns and Grand Houses circuit across the country in conjunction with the National Trust, through to the Brigadoon Highland Games, a local version of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Woodford Folk Festival Hogmanay on 31 December, The Year of Scotland in Australia will bring a variety of Scottish culture and heritage to Australian audiences.  The Year also aims to highlight the ongoing work of Australian-based organisations who maintain Scottish tradition and culture through annual presentation of their own Burns Nights, Games, Ceilidhs, Clan Gatherings and festivals.

Creative Scotland’s Head of Music, Alan Morrison, said: “Scotland’s folk and trad music is some of the best in the world, and we’re delighted to have an unprecedented opportunity to share it with our friends in Australia.

“This year-long celebration of Scottish heritage will resonate with Australian audiences whose family roots go deep into Scottish soil but also with anyone who simply enjoys good music played brilliantly by world-class artists.”

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