The programme will showcase the music, arts, food, sport and history of the islands, as well as highlight their unique beauty as visitor destinations.
Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton will attend the official launch festival, the Celtic Media Festival in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis today.
The Year of Scotland’s Islands initiative aims to raise the profile of the islands across the UK and internationally, attract more visitors, bolster economic development and strengthen links between the islands and mainland cultural organisations.
The programme includes over 100 events across 42 islands. Highlights include the return of The Lewis Chessmen to the island, the award-winning Shetland Folk Festival, culture-packed St Magnus International Festival on Orkney, the Tiree Music Festival, Isle of Skye Pipeband 50th Anniversary and Arran on Film by Arran Theatre & Arts Trust.
The Hebridean Celtic Festival on Lewis, also set to be a highlight, will be headlined by Scots chart-topper KT Tunstall, with performances by Seth Lakeman, the Peatbog Faeries and folk supergroup, KAN.
KT said: “I’m so looking forward to playing the Hebrides. It's going to be a proper adventure followed by a top knees up. I’m delighted to be a part of it.”
Murdo Mackay, project leader for Western Isles council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said: “We are absolutely delighted with the programme of events that will make up the Year of Scotland’s Islands. In the 12 months that this initiative is running, we are supporting over 100 events with a combined budget of more than £4 million. The diversity and quality of requests for funding support has been very high, and with music, art, dance, literature, theatre, and gourmet events galore, whatever your interests this is truly a year to visit Scotland’s Islands.”
The Scotland’s Islands initiative has been developed through a partnership of the six local authorities with island communities – Argyll and Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Shetland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Other stakeholders include Highlands & Islands Enterprise, EventScotland, VisitScotland and Awards for All.
For more information on the Scotland’s Islands initiative visit: www.scotlandsislands.com
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Notes to editors:
• Funding for Scotland’s Islands has been confirmed from the six local authority project partners - plus Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the European Regional Development Fund and Awards for All.
• Ninety events will be funded in part or full by the local authority project partners, to a tune of more than £500,000.
• In addition over ten major, flagship events will be staged that are benefiting from approximately £250,000 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and EventScotland.
• The annual Celtic Media Festival is a three-day festival celebrating broadcasting and film talent from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man.
EventScotland, the national events agency, works to promote Scotland as the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting sporting and cultural portfolio it helps to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy through events tourism. www.EventScotland.org
For a full list of projects funded to date visit www.scotlandsislands.com.