See in the New Year at Scot:Lands
- David Pollock
- 12 December 2014
Scot:Lands opens up New Year’s Day in Edinburgh with an array of exciting performances
Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay programme has matured around the long-running street party in recent years, both as a season of well-structured and fun family events and as a money-maker for the city. One of the best innovations of the last couple of years has been what’s now dubbed Scot:Lands, a method of reclaiming the previously empty, hungover space of January 1st and filling it with activity.
The idea is simple and very enjoyable. Throughout the day, people congregate in the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street and draw at random a card giving directions to a venue around the city. There they enjoy what’s going on, then receive directions to the next venue, and so on. This year there are ten venues in total, each offering a different slice of music or arts from well-known practitioners based around Scotland.
‘Our venue’s in a beautiful part of the Old Town, and it will be a special-sounding room for our show,’ says singer-songwriter Roddy Hart, respecting the code of omerta about where each venue actually is. Hart’s curating a selection of fine Scottish independent musicians including Withered Hand, Sarah Hayes and Louis Abbott from Admiral Fallow, Alice Marra and Andrew Mitchell from The Hazey Janes, and Tommy Reilly. ‘Heart:Land really represents how these artists see Scotland musically. The idea is that everyone will sing something from their own back catalogue that’s particularly personal, but also something from older Scottish artists that resonates with them. I think it will show that Scotland’s songwriting is as strong as it ever was.’
Other destinations include Wholly:Land, featuring a dance performance choreographed by Steinvor Palsson; a tribute to Deeside at Woodend Barn’s Barn:Land, featuring musicians Aidan O’Rourke and Alasdair Roberts and artists Chris Dooks and Alicia Bruce; HebCelt:Land, a celebration of Hebridean folk; and 3 On his Is:land, King Creosote’s musical tribute to Mull. Neu:Land is also a welcome addition, a New Year edition of Edinburgh’s eclectic and essential spoken word, music and arts night Neu! Reekie!, here featuring the bands TeenCanteen and Birdhead, as well as BAFTA-winning animator Will Anderson, ‘house band’ Emelle, and spoken word from founders Kevin Williamson and Michael Pedersen.
‘It’s always a pleasure to remind our audiences and ourselves we’re not just the eternal hosts,’ says Pedersen. ‘That said, I think we do this rather well. This year has been our best adventure yet – we’ve curated shows in New York, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, and Neu! Reekie! has been represented in Malawi at the Lake of Stars festival. I usually either get planked at New Year and sing and dance jovially or hide away and applaud myself for my wise non-participation. This year I’ll be getting to bed early(ish) in order to ameliorate the performance on the 1st. What a way to start the year.’
Scot:Lands, various surprise venues, Edinburgh, Thu 1 Jan.