Scottish festivals in 2017 celebrating the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
A look at festivals showcasing Scotland's buildings and landmarks in new and imaginative ways
In the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, many festivals are utilising Scotland's abundant built heritage, with events taking place outside traditional spaces in order to showcase our buildings and landmarks in new and imaginative ways.
Edinburgh's New Town is one of Scotland's six UNESCO World Heritage Sites and this winter it becomes the focus of an innovative light installation as Edinburgh's Georgian Shadows (23 Feb–26 Mar) celebrates the area's 250th anniversary. Six buildings with a rich history are lit to complement their architectural features, with facts and stories brought to life on their frontage using light, colour and text. In St Andrew Square, a lumière piece tells the story of the people who lived there in Georgian times.
On World Heritage Day (18 Apr), Dig It! festival presents Scotland in Six, a celebration of our iconic World Heritage Sites. Events kick off early that day in Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town, where competing medieval and classical music floods the city courtesy of wandering minstrels and a Battle of the Bands.
Over in the Western Isles, participants explore the archipelago of St Kilda using Minecraft while New Lanark is subject to a yarn bombing. The Forth Bridge celebrations feature three pop-up festivals from the 1890s and Picts chase Romans at the Antonine Wall in a 5k race, followed by a Great Roman Bake Off. After the sun sets, there's a glow-in-the-dark evening of storytelling, food and music at the heart of Neolithic Orkney.
It's not just established sites that are the focus of festivals. Hidden Door (26 May–4 Jun) is an annual showcase of the grassroots arts scene in Edinburgh and seeks to breathe new life into abandoned spaces. Previous editions of the festival have taken place in Market Street's vaults and the Old Street Lighting Depot, with this year's event taking place at the old Leith Theatre. This derelict art deco space has been standing empty and falling into disrepair for 28 years. Expect dozens of cool musicians, bands, artists, poets, and filmmakers to fill the 25-plus spaces.
Returning for a second year in 2017 is illumination: Harbour Festival of Light (Nov). The festival celebrates both the natural and built heritage of Irvine's historic waterfront, with the 2016 event featuring illumination trails, a lantern parade and a light show with aerial acrobatics in and around the 150 year-old Linthouse at the Scottish Maritime Museum.