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

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Scottish festivals in 2017 celebrating the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

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.

Edinburgh's Georgian Shadows

Six buildings in Edinburgh's New Town, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, are brought to life using inventive lighting.

Edinburgh City Centre

Fri 24 Mar

Times & prices vary

Sat 25 Mar

Times & prices vary

Sun 26 Mar

Times & prices vary

Hidden Door Festival

Artists of all stripes congregate for the Hidden Door interdisciplinary arts festival, which features dozens of cool musicians, bands, artists, poets and filmmakers, often working in new and exciting combinations. It is hosted in an as-yet undisclosed, disused site in Edinburgh.

Leith Theatre, Edinburgh

Fri 26 May

Times & prices vary

Sat 27 May

Times & prices vary

Sun 28 May

Times & prices vary

…and 7 more dates until 4 Jun

illumination: Harbour Festival of Light

This festival of light features an illumination trail along the River Irvine featuring hundreds of brightly coloured origami boats and butterflies, a light show with aerial acrobatics in and around the Linthouse at the Scottish Maritime Museum and a fireworks display to celebrate St Andrew's Day.

The Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine

Thu 30 Nov

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed / 01294 278283

Provisional dates.

Fri 1 Dec

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed / 01294 278283

Provisional dates.

Sat 2 Dec

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed / 01294 278283

Provisional dates.

Sun 3 Dec

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed / 01294 278283

Provisional dates.

Scotland in Six – World Heritage Day 2017

Visit one of Scotland's six iconic World Heritage Sites for a full day of activities to celebrate World Heritage Day. There is medieval and classical music in Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town, the chance to explore the archipelago of St Kilda using Minecraft, yarn bombing in New Lanark, Picts chasing Romans at the…

New Lanark World Heritage Site

Tue 18 Apr

Times & prices to be confirmed / 01555 661345

North Queensferry Train Station, Inverkeithing

Tue 18 Apr

Times & prices to be confirmed

Various venues: Edinburgh

Tue 18 Apr

Times & prices to be confirmed

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