Call for Scots musicians to get involved in inaugural Scottish Folk Day 2023

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The first ever Scottish Folk Day will take place on Saturday 23 September, celebrating the country’s vibrant and varied folk scene, and offering a networking platform for musicians and artists at all levels to showcase their talents.

The pilot project is calling for people of all backgrounds and abilities to stage live performances and workshops, giving folk fans across Scotland and Europe the opportunity to connect with a wider, like-minded community.

•Gary Innes, BBC presenter and founding member of Scottish supergroup Mànran, standing with young piper Katie McEwan of Oban High School Pipe Band. The pair will be joining in celebrations for Scottish Folk Day on Saturday 23 September. Photo by Kevin McGlynn

Organised by Scotland’s Traditional Music Forum (TMF), Scottish Folk Day is running in tandem with European Folk Day, held on the same date, which has been conceived and coordinated by the European Folk Network.

Organisers are encouraging anyone interested in folk music, from young learners to stalwart professionals; school classes to established bands, to do something to mark the new annual event.

Whether it’s hosting an in-person performance or participation opportunity, or recording and sharing a musical performance or rendition online, all contributions are eagerly welcomed. Folk fans can use the hashtags #ScottishFolkDay and #EuropeanFolkDay to showcase the breadth of activity taking place across the continent.

David Francis, Director at Traditional Music Forum, said: “Folk music is a huge part of Scotland’s culture and heritage, and is still prevalent in the lives of many Scots today. Scottish Folk Day is a means of celebrating that history, and keeping the tradition alive by connecting people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds who share one common interest.

“All of us at TMF are thrilled to be running the event in Scotland on behalf of the European Folk Network, and can’t wait to see how individuals, groups or indeed entire musical communities come together to help us celebrate on Saturday 23 September. Whatever your ability, whatever your style, we want to hear from you!”

The traditional arts are an essential element of European cultural identity and diversity, in which millions of people work, create and actively participate on a daily basis. However they enjoy significantly less recognition than other art forms such as classical music, jazz or contemporary dance. European Folk Day aims to change this by offering a collective voice to the pan-European community, and highlighting the importance of folk-traditions in the European cultural landscape.

Araceli Tzigane, Spanish Board member of the European Folk Network said: “European Folk Day is a major new project directly initiated by the 150 members of the European Folk Network from 30 European nations – including a significant number of leading Scottish organisations, such as the Traditional Music Forum, which was one of the five founding members of the network. 

“In Scotland, as in every European community, the traditional arts are essential foundations of cultural heritage and identity.  Participation in the European Folk Day will be a shared celebration, joining communities across Europe to increase recognition of traditional arts in all their diverse forms.” 

Scottish Folk Day is running in partnership with European Folk Day, which will see musicians from across Europe take part in performances or workshops in their local area.

The European Folk Day pilot project is open to traditions of music from any community within Europe, whether historically indigenous or newly-migrant. The event aims to highlight the importance of each and every European musical community, whilst supporting continued resilience through networking and digital communication.

The event has been coordinated by members of the European Folk Network with co-funding from the European Union via the MusicAIRE programme.

For further information on how to get involved, visit: https://europeanfolkday.eu