TRACS contributes to Spotlight on Scotland at 2017 Festival Interceltique de Lorient

Scotland’s music will take centre stage in Brittany, France this August at Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Europe’s largest Celtic music festival.  The Festival – set to attract an audience of 750,000 from 4-13 August –  offers an unprecedented opportunity to highlight the diversity and quality of Scotland’s finest musical talent on the international stage.

Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland (TRACS) is one of a collective of eleven organisations from across Scotland hoping to boost cultural tourism with a special Scottish pavilion throughout the festival, alongside the Traditional Music Forum. This includes a free musical programme curated by Showcase Scotland Expo, who welcomed the festival director Lisardo Lombardia to The Visit in Scotland back in 2015 – a weeklong showcase of trad music to festival directors, agents and bookers from all over the world. The Scotland pavilion also hopes to showcase the vibrancy, diversity and accessibility of Scotland’s live music scene, develop export opportunities for food and drink companies and foster education and cultural links.

The largest showcase for traditional Scottish music in mainland Europe will see over 180 Scottish performances, events and activities taking place across 11 days. The Gala Opening Concert will feature an all-Scottish line-up produced by the award winning Hebridean Celtic Festival and a special Grand Night of Scotland concert, curated by Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, Donald Shaw.

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Amy McDonald, Blazin’ Fiddles, Skerryvore, Elephant Sessions, Fara and Talisk are amongst the many talented musicians set to perform. Scotland’s emerging talent will also be featured with performances from TMSA Young Trad Tour and Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail (who also perform at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in July) and Gaelic language, music and dance is placed firmly at the heart of the festival with sets from Runrig, Capercaillie, Breabach, Sophie Stephenson Step Dance, Hò-rò, Tide Lines and many more. Pipers, Andrew Frater, Ian Duncan, Isle of Cumbrae Pipe Band and Methil & District Pipe Band will kick off the festival with a parade across the city.

In addition to an exceptional programme of live music, festival-goers will enjoy a special Scottish film programme, including the stunning Scottish documentary feature film, From Scotland With Love by award winningdirector Virginia Heath and music by King Creosote. The exhibition programme will include work from photography collective Document Scotland,exhibiting the portrait of contemporary Scotland, Scotia Nova, whilst the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry will be shown in its entirety for the first-time outside Scotland.

Lisardo Lombardia, Director of Festival Interceltique de Lorient, said: “Scotland is one of the most loyal partners of the festival and a key country at Lorient Interceltic Festival. The Scottish pipe bands have never missed an edition since the beginning in 1971. A lot of talented musicians from the “Far North” of the Celtic world have been discovered during the almost half a century of festival that followed.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “France and Scotland enjoy deep cultural ties and have a mutual ‘Cultural Statement of Intent’ between our nations, which I signed in 2013. We share a rich Celtic history of storytelling and traditional music and a great love of piping.

“For Scotland to be chosen as Country of Honour by the Festival Interceltique de Lorient further cements this important relationship. Our prominence at one of the world’s biggest Celtic festivals is an excellent opportunity to showcase the spirit of Scotland, as we celebrate our Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

“Over 200 of Scotland’s finest musicians are performing at this year’s festival – representing emerging young talent and firmly established acts – and are sure to delight existing fans and create new ones. We hope the spotlight on Scotland will entice music lovers to our own plethora of music festivals, which take place across the country throughout the summer months.”

Of course, it’s not just summer months that showcase Scotland’s music, with Celtic Connections in Glasgow at the beginning of the year and TradFest in Edinburgh across May Day.

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland, said: “For decades the Festival Interceltique de Lorient has tapped its toes to Scotland’s fiddles, pipes and drums, and so we’re delighted to make this friendship grow even stronger as Country of Honour in 2017. Some of Scotland’s greatest folk and traditional musicians will set the stages alight in Brittany this summer in front of eager French audiences who know how to get a party started.

“Scotland is proud of its cultural heritage but also excited by the talented new generation of artists who are certain to become the new stars of Lorient. There’s no better way to bring our two countries closer together than to embrace our shared love of music, and this year’s Festival looks like it is going to be very special indeed.”

Scotland’s presence at Lorient is being curated and produced by Showcase Scotland Expo in partnership with several organisations from across Scotland: Creative Scotland, Visit Scotland, the Scottish Government, Hebridean Celtic Festival, Scottish Music Centre, Fèis Rois, British Council, Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland (TRACS)/Traditional Music Forum, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Traditional Music & Song Association.

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Scottish Artists at Lorient include: Amy MacDonald, Blasta (G), Blazin’ Fiddles, Breabach (G), Bruce MacGregor, Calum Stewart, Capercaillie (G), Charlie Grey & Jo Peach, Corrina Hewat, Elephant Sessions, Fara, Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail (G), Fred Morrison, Gary Innes (G), Hayley Keenan, Hecla, Hò-rò (G), Keltika, Mischa McPherson Trio (G), Ross and Ali, Runrig (G), Scotland’s Wild Heart, Sophie Stephenson (G), Talisk, Tannara (G), The Celtic Social Club, Tide Lines (G), TMSA Young Trad Tour, Andrew Frater, Ian Duncan, Isle of Cumbrae Pipe Band, Methil & District Pipe Band.

(G) denotes Gaelic artist