The Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow will team up with event producers, academics, sustainability experts, community organizations and traditional music groups to create a nationwide network of festivals for the harvest season.

It is hoped that the Scottish Government backed project will help create a new generation of musicians and cultural producers through a mix of events and commissions across Scotland.

Local communities and schools are also encouraged to start growing their own food through next September as part of the Scotland-wide project launched in Glasgow in November to mark the city’s COP26 international climate summit.

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It is hoped that hundreds of thousands of people in at least 50 different locations will take part in the project that will represent Scotland at the UK Festival 2022 and will have a budget of at least £ 7 million.

Key attendees include Aproxima Arts, a new venture founded by environmental arts producer and Beltane Fire Festival founder, Angus Farquhar. Previously, he hosted outdoor events at the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye, Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and Glen Lyon in Perthshire.

Also involved are Neil Butler, producer of events such as the Merchant City Festival in Glasgow and Big in Falkirk, BEMIS Scotland, the body representing the voluntary sector of ethnic minorities in Scotland, the traditional arts group Fèis Rois and Scotland’s Rural College.

The £ 120 million festival was initiated by then Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 and adopted by Boris Johnson when he took over Downing Street the following year. It has since won the support of decentralized administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“/>Donald Shaw said dozens of new festivals are expected across Scotland as part of the project. Image: Gaelle Beri

The successful Scottish offering aims to become the “greatest project for your own growth in modern times” with the aim of empowering people across the country to “grow and share food and music”.

Donald Shaw, creative producer for Celtic Connections, said, “A big part of the project will be encouraging and enabling people to grow their own food.

“In addition, the idea will arise to develop new music. We will commission a lot of young producers and new music. The realization and culmination of this will be some sort of celebration of harvest festivals across Scotland.

“Our idea is to empower people in the arts to create their own event. It’s about nurturing all of the amazing talent that is in all of our communities in Scotland.”

“/> Aproxima Arts and Celtic Connections teamed up last September to host a harvest festival in Glasgow.

Mr Farquhar said the collective working on the project came from all over Scotland and that many of its members only met online while researching and developing the successful offering.

He told The Scotsman: “It was very important to us that this project not only focus on Edinburgh and Glasgow, but that we just tell everyone else what to do.

“It will really be about the rural meeting with the urban and the urban meeting with the rural, because that is what makes Scotland so interesting.

“We’re going to try really hard to get in touch with a lot of people who wouldn’t get the chance to get involved with things like that.

“/> Donald Shaw, the creative producer of Celtic Connections, is one of the key players in the successful application in Scotland.

“COP26, the world’s largest climate change conference, is coming to Glasgow in November. We are ready, as a country, to really do something.

“We want to use the next few months to build amazing partnerships across the country. It seems like the right idea at the right time.

“Everyone on the team has been involved in major events before, but that’s the job of a lifetime.”

Paul Bush, Events Director for EventScotland, said, “Scotland has a long and proud history of innovation and invention – it’s a place where great minds connect and work together.

“We are delighted to be able to support an extremely passionate and dedicated team to further demonstrate Scotland’s wealth of originality by developing a wonderful project that focuses on community, creativity and sustainability.”

Scottish Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop added: “This is an important opportunity to support freelancers and organizations in these sectors as we recover from the pandemic.

“/> Angus Farquhar (right) hosted the Glasgow harvest event last September with potatoes grown across the city during the lockdown.

“I look forward to seeing the successful Scottish team perform in the next phase of this collaborative project.”

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