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Creative Scotland's support for Music

Published: 17 May 2017

Feis Rois

Scotland’s musicians are highly regarded across the world and our music excels in every genre. Folk, trad, rock, pop, indie, electronic, hip hop, classical and jazz combine to create a vibrant music scene and contemporary energy that resonate across the globe. As well as its cultural significance, music also accounts for more than 10,000 direct jobs in Scotland, and many more indirectly.

Creative Scotland's support for music is extensive, across all funding routes: Regular, Open and Targeted. In the last financial year, 2016-17, Creative Scotland awarded more than £12.8m to music projects and organisations. This figure increases to an estimated £15m when we take into account the many multi artform venues and festivals across the country that also include music as part of their programmes.

To coincide with the first day of The Great Escape Festival (18-20 May), where we’ve supported eight top Scottish acts to perform at two Showcasing Scotland concerts at the pivotal platform for new music, we share a short overview of our recent support for music...

Excellence and Experimentation

Celtic Connections 2017 Opening Concert

Our musicians present highly imaginative and critically acclaimed programmes that continue to enhance Scotland's reputation globally, though world-class ensembles such as Dunedin Consort, Scottish Ensemble, Red Note Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.

Glasgow’s internationally renowned Cryptic continue to push creative boundaries through Cryptic Nights, Sonica and Cryptic Associates, while Arika offer up experimental music, film and art events, and AC Projects deliver the ground-breaking Tectonics and Counterflows events.  

Major festivals such as Celtic Connections, HebCelt, East Neuk, Lammermuir, sound, St Magnus, Solas, and Orkney and Shetland Folk Festivals, as well as Edinburgh’s Jazz & Blues, International and Fringe Festivals, provide important international platforms for our musicians to perform in places where music lovers and communities can come together.

The Scottish Music Industry Association’s Scottish Album of the Year Award, New Music Scotland’s Scottish New Music Awards and Hands Up For Trad’s Scots Trad Music Awards are all key to celebrating and championing the wealth and variety of musical talent from grassroots to global scale.

Be Charlotte, Honeyblood, James Yorkston, Lau, La Banda Europa, Mt. Doubt, Martha Ffion, Matthew Whiteside and Roddy Woomble are amongst the many exciting artists supported through our Open Project Funding to record albums, create new work and tour nationally and internationally.


Gorbals Brass Band, photo: Alan McAteer

Equalities, access and participation are critical to the music sector to ensure that opportunities to engage with quality music-making are available to as many people, and as many distinct groups, as possible. The National Youth Choir of Scotland, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, Paragon Ensemble, Drake Music Scotland, Fèisean nan Gàidheal and Fèis Rois are critical in ensuring equal access and fostering the next generation of musicians.  The pioneering Youth Music Initiative continues to have a hugely positive impact on young people by providing valuable music-making opportunities across the country.

The promotion of Gaelic language and traditional culture is core to work of organisations such as Fèis Rois and Fèisean nan Gàidheal.  They continue to develop the creative talents of young people in cities and far-flung communities across Scotland, opening up access to and enjoyment of Gaelic arts and culture.  The geographical spread of high-quality music in each and every corner of the country – and across all genres – is a priority, as is the nurturing of musical talent within Scotland’s migrant communities.


An Lanntair, photo: John Maher

We provide support to world-class venues such as Comar on Mull, Platform in Glasgow, Woodend Barn in Aberdeenshire, The Lemon Tree and Aberdeen Music Hall, Perth Concert Hall, Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, Mareel Shetland and An Lanntair in Stornoway. Each of these offers rich and varied programmes of music while tapping into local identity and creative talent.

We were delighted to support Independent Venue Week in January this year, a seven-day celebration of grassroots music venues across the UK.  This year saw the programme extend into Krakatoa in Aberdeen; Beat Generator Live! in Dundee; Electric Circus, Leith Depot, La Belle Angèle and Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh; Warehouse in Falkirk; Broadcast, The Glad Café and The Hug & Pint in Glasgow; and The Bungalow in Paisley.


Wide Days 2017, photo: Jannica Honey

Showcase Scotland Expo and Born To Be Wide provide invaluable platforms for our home-grown musicians to develop their careers, raise their profile, perform directly to international delegates and secure new opportunities through The Visit, Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections and Wide Days.  

Meanwhile, the National Piping Centre, Hands Up For Trad, Scottish Music Centre, Scottish Music Industry Association, Enterprise Music Scotland and Traditional Arts And Culture Scotland represent the interests of our musicians and the industry, increasing the profile and visibility of music through information, education and advocacy.

Scotland’s music connected to the world

Be Charlotte at The Great Escape 2017, photo: Jannica Honey
Be Charlotte at The Great Escape 2017, photo: Jannica Honey

Connecting Scottish talent to the wider world is one of Creative Scotland's main ambitions, as artists have the ability to transcend borders and build friendships through the universal language of music.

Our thriving music scene continues to flourish on the world stage through targeted partnerships and major international showcases across folk, trad, classical and contemporary rock and pop. This year sees extensive country-focus Scottish programmes at Rudolstadt Festival in Germany and Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France. In 2017 we also partnered with The Great Escape in Brighton to present two Scottish showcases as a springboard to launch emerging talent into European territories and beyond. The Scottish acts showcasing at each of these festivals cover an impressive range of styles and genres.  

We’re also pleased to support the Scottish Music Centre to represent and promote our classical music at Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam, while Jazz From Scotland spearheaded the Scottish jazz presence at the Jazzahead! expo in Bremen. Working with the British Council and other UK nations and Ireland through the Horizons partnership, we celebrate the wealth of our music traditions within a world music market at WOMEX, which this year takes place in Katowice, Poland.

We also help musicians, who are at the right stage of their career and who have good management teams around them, to perform at international showcase events where they can secure further live work when booked by the industry figures – agents, promoters, festival programmers – in the audience.  Our partnership with PRS for Music Foundation on the International Showcase Fund this year has enabled Scottish acts to showcase in various international territories: Happy Meals, PAWS, Pinact, The Pooches, Sam Gellaitry, Spinning Coin, The Spook School and Womps have performed at SXSW in Austin Texas; Be Charlotte at EurosonicNoorderslag in Groningen and Midem in Cannes; The Jellyman's Daughter at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City; and Catholic Action at Muse Expo in Hollywood. More opportunities are still to come before the end of the calendar year.

Our partnership with PRS for Music Foundation on the Beyond Borders programme also supports high quality co-commissions and tours, stimulating collaboration between composers, performance groups and music organisations across the four different UK countries.

Creative Scotland is dedicated to supporting Scotland’s musicians and developing Scotland’s music sector to ensure our music scene continues to thrive locally, nationally and internationally.