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Article published 26/11/2021

EventScotland has unveiled Scotland’s Winter Festival programme of events, underpinned by £180,000 in funding from the Scottish Government. 

Celebrating Scotland’s three national days, St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night, this year's exciting programme supports 12 events across eight local authority areas. The funding has been instrumental in helping to establish, develop and grow a number of events and festivals over the years. It continues to enable Scotland’s events sector to plan and deliver events across the forthcoming winter months, providing support as the industry responds and recovers from COVID-19.  

A range of online and in-person activities from live music to illuminations, torchlight parades and midnight moments are set to take place across the winter season. This will give both visitors and locals the opportunity to come together and celebrate Scotland’s values, world-class culture and unique heritage. 

Scotland’s Winter Festivals bring a much-needed brightness and joy to the winter darkness and I’m very pleased that the Scottish Government is contributing £180,000 to EventScotland’s programme of events.

The past year has been challenging for everyone so the government is proud to fund a programme of events that bring people together from near and far to showcase our world-class culture and heritage as well as our values of fairness, kindness, inclusivity and empowerment.

Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth

Whether you prefer dancing at a St Andrew’s Day ceilidh, enjoying a family-friendly New Year’s Eve event or raising a dram in honour of the Bard on Burns Night, the importance of human interaction, connection and shared experiences has never been stronger.

We are delighted to support a fantastic range of both new and much-loved winter events taking place across our three national days. Having them in our calendar further strengthens Scotland’s global outlook and position as a world-leading events destination and reinforces Scotland’s place as the perfect stage for events both nationally and internationally.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events

Oban Winter Festival

In-person event in Oban, taking place from 19 to 28 November 2021.

Come to Oban Winter Festival, pick up something special at our markets laden with hand-made goods, visit the fairgrounds or enjoy one of the many family days out. Why not join the pipe bands, ceilidhs and choirs celebrating St Andrew's Day or celebrate young talent at the Young Entrepreneurs Market. Round off the day with a leisurely afternoon tea overlooking the beautiful bay and wonder at the evening light shows before relaxing with a special winter Festival Cocktail. So much to see, do and experience at this fun filled family festival. 

Read more about this event on the Oban Winter Festival website.

The Big Hoolie 2021

In-person event in St Andrews on 27 November 2021.

The Big Hoolie 2021 is a Free Community Event Celebrating St Andrew’s Day in St Andrews. Highlights for this year include; a Market promoting local community groups, charities, student associations and artisans promoting Scottish Traditional crafts; an Entertainment Stage provided by Kingdom FM providing a platform for local dancers and musicians; Torch Parade and Fireworks where City Of St Andrews Pipe Band will lead the Torch Parade through the town and down to the Iconic West Sands for the Firework Display; The Big Hoolie Music Stage and Outdoor Ceilidh featuring InHarmony, The Other Guys, The Kilrymont Ceilidh Band, Be Charlotte and VanIves. 

Read more about this event on the Big Hoolie website.

Glasgow's St Andrew's Day Torchlight Parade

In-person event in Glasgow on 27 November 2021.

The St Andrew's Day Torchlight Parade is a unique and exciting community event set in the beautiful West End of Glasgow. The event begins at 6pm with 90 minutes of entertainment at Glasgow Botanic Gardens including live music, fire performers, street theatre, kids’ hub and more.  The parade itself starts at 7.30pm, featuring a sea of lit torches, making its way down Byres Road, ending at the South Front of University of Glasgow with more entertainment.

Read more about the Torchlight Parade on their Facebook event page.

Couple enjoy St Andrews Day Torchlight Parade in Glasgow

Summerhall Presents: FAIR PLAY

In-person event in Edinburgh on 30 November 2021.

An evening of music, theatre, spoken word, dance and film. Edinburgh’s independent performing arts venue Summerhall is working with Fair Saturday to present FAIR PLAY, celebrating some of the artists who’ve been involved with Summerhall's Artist Development Programme. MC’d by poet and theatre maker Leyla Josephine, the night will include dance from Katie Armstrong and Róisín O’Brien and spoken word from John Osborne (My Car Plays Tapes) and Colin Bramwell (Three Pints on a Sunday). There will also be a screening of a new short film Auntie Empire (Julia Taudevin, Niamh McKeown and Jana Robert), all rounded off with music from a surprise guest. 

Read more about FAIR PLAY on the Summerhall website.

Summerhall in Edinburgh

SEALL Festival of Small Halls

In-person event across Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh from 19 to 27 November 2021.

The 2021 SEALL Festival of Small Halls takes place over nine days at the end of November, bringing Scotland’s finest musicians to community spaces across Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh. Now in its fourth year, the award-winning festival has become renowned for being a celebration of Island life and the traditional music of Scotland. Over the course of the festival, there will be daytime acoustic performances and evening concerts taking place in some of the most remote rural venues in Scotland. The festival ends on Saturday 27 November with the Big Cèilidh for St Andrew’s Night at the Sligachan Hotel. 

Read more about the Small Halls event on the SEALL website. 

Couple dance as folk band plays

Caledonia Festival

Hybrid event taking place in Stirling and online on 30 November 2021.

The Caledonia Festival brings together an amazing talent of creative arts to celebrate St Andrew’s Day in Scotland. This inaugural hybrid event on 30 November offers a mix of free online virtual viewing during the day with film, theatre and music. There is also a live ticketed comedy evening in Stirling, hosted by the brilliant Raymond Mearns with Stuart Mitchell, Jay Lafferty and headliner Vladimir McTavish.  

Read more about the event on the Caledonia Festival website.

Aerial view of a rock band

Edinburgh International Magic Festival

In-person event in Edinburgh from 17 to 31 December 2021.

Back this winter with its first live programme of events in two years! Be amazed, inspired, provoked and entertained by the best and most exciting magic across a range of venues.  The festival has a packed line up of some of the best Scottish performers and magicians straight from the Magic Circle offering mind-blowing shows, workshops and events for ages zero to a hundred! The festival closes just before New Year with 'Hogmanay House'; an uplifting performance and celebration about the magic and origins of Hogmanay! Join a cast of Scots musicians, magicians and storytellers and make merry in the traditional way as we share (and demonstrate!) the weirdly obscure and most wonderful Hogmanay traditions from around Scotland over the past 500 years.    

Read more about the event on the Edinburgh International Magic Festival website.

Stirling’s Hogmanay 2021 - 31 December 2021

In-person event in Stirling on 31 December 2021.

Celebrate Hogmanay with all the family in Stirling, with something for all ages. Enjoy live music and family ceilidhs at The Tolbooth or have fun at our new Stirling’s Hogmanay Family Day at the Albert Halls. Bring in the bells watching a spectacular firework display from the National Wallace Monument – watch locally around Stirling or live on national television.

Read more about the event on the Stirling Alive with Scotland website.

Stromness Hogmanay 2021

In-person event in Stromness on 31 December 2021.

People in Stromness are hugely proud of their heritage, and the Stromness Hogmanay celebrations provide a chance for local people and visitors alike to celebrate that heritage, the vibrant present and look to the future. The event features the release of a short film focusing on the Yule Log pull, an age-old street game that was previously played in the town until the 1930s. There will also be a spectacular firework display with more to be confirmed.

Read more about the event on the Stromness Orkney Facebook page.

The Island Fling - Portree’s Hogmanay Hoolie

In-person event in Portree on 31 December 2021.

Enjoy live Scottish dance music and Gaelic songs, along with local food vendors. This is a celebration suitable for all ages, held in the village square – get ready to dance the night away with us and to take in the bells. Light Up Portree Community Events Group are once again hosting this event as a sub group of Portree and Braes Community Trust.

Read more about the event and the host's good work on the Portree and Braes website.  

Dancers celebrate the New Year in Portree

Big Burns Supper

In-person event in Dumfries from 14 to 30 January 2022.

The 2022 Winter Fringe festival will return with an expanded range of over 300 events following last year’s shift online due to the pandemic. With a firm focus on supporting the recovery of the local community and freelance economy, the 11th edition of Scotland’s largest contemporary Burns celebration is set to reignite the dark winter nights. 

Highlights include a Burns Night variety show hosted by Eddi Reader and featuring Skerryvore, Colonel Mustard and Stanley Odd, comedy featuring Russell Kane, Nish Kumar Susie McCabe, Christopher McArthur, Basil Brush, Rich Hall & Ray Bradshaw Audiences will also see the return of Dumfries Carnival which is a free day for families. Furthermore, there will be a new talks and demonstrations strand and a wide range of interactive Burns events enabling residents and visitors to explore the beauty and history of Dumfries. 

Read more about the event on the Big Burns Supper website.

Burns&Beyond

In-person event in Edinburgh from 22 January to 5 February 2022.

Edinburgh’s flagship Burns festival Burns&Beyond returns for its fourth edition, sending messages of Luve, Hope and Kindness. Burns&Beyond celebrates the life and legacy of Robert Burns with an outstanding programme of traditional and contemporary art and culture, from across Scotland and beyond. This year’s event welcomes the return of live events with spectacular music, poetry, comedy and whisky, along with the Scottish premier of Michael Pendry’s stunning Les Colombes at St. Giles’ Cathedral, an installation of over 2,500 paper doves which fly the length of the Cathedral. 

Read more about the event on the Burns&Beyond website.

Silhouette of person at live festival show

In addition to the supported events programme above, managed by EventScotland, there will also be wider events activity across a range of partners including BEMIS Scotland and the English Speaking Union Scotland. This November, Scotland will once again join the global celebration of Fair Saturday, a global movement that celebrates the arts and spreads support for social and cultural causes through cultural events and performances, with a St Andrew’s Fair Saturday programme of events taking place throughout Scotland.