New TMF workshops announced

The Traditional Music Forum is presenting workshops in response to some of the points that came out in the report ‘Working as A Traditional Musician in Scotland’.  The topics covered are Rights and Publishing, with Stuart Fleming, Negotiating Skills with Chris Grady, and Stage Presence with Kath Burlinson. (Details on workshop leaders below.)

Maximising your income as a musician means getting the most out of your songs and tunes. In this workshop Stuart Fleming keeps you right on the ins and outs of music publishing (including self-publishing) and explains the rights you have as a music creator.

Negotiating with promoters, negotiating with your agent, negotiating with fellow band-members – the skills of negotiation, arriving at a solution that suits all parties, are an essential part of the musician’s life. In this hands-on workshop you’ll work with real life situations, exploring the options that ensure everyone gets what they need.

Skill as a musician is only part of the job. Almost as important is the ability to command the stage and connect with your audience. In this workshop you will explore how to acquire these skills, complementing your musical message with a confident, attractive stage presence.

Workshops are free. You can sign up for as many as you wish, but they must be pre-booked as space is limited. You can book by following the links below.

Feb 11 Edinburgh Stage Presence Scottish Storytelling Centre 10.30 – 1.30

Feb 19 Edinburgh Rights and Publishing  Scottish Storytelling Centre, 11.30 – 1.30

Feb 19 Edinburgh Negotiating Skills Scottish Storytelling Centre, 2.00 – 4.00

Feb 26 Glasgow Rights and Publishing Scottish Music Centre, 11.30 – 1.30

Feb 26 Glasgow Negotiating Skills Scottish Music Centre, 2.00 – 4.00

Mar 11 Glasgow Stage Presence Scottish Music Centre, 2.00 – 5.00

Apr 29 Inverness Rights and Publishing MacGregor’s, 11.30 – 1.30

Apr 29 Inverness Negotiating Skills MacGregor’s, 2.00 – 4.00

Stuart Fleming is the Senior Membership Manager in Scotland & Northern Ireland for PRS for Music, With a background as a songwriter & producer, Stuart has worked in both the creative and business side of the music industry. Having worked for both major and independent record labels, he moved to the management and touring side of the industry whilst continuing to be a published songwriter in his own right. His role at PRS sees him work with many of the most successful Scottish and Northern Irish songwriters and composers of the modern era, whilst creating wider industry partnerships and career development opportunities for emerging writers.

Chris Grady has run, built, marketed, and created theatres and festivals over 30 years. Most recently heading marketing and fundraising for the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, after being General Manager for the Pleasance Theatres and Head of International Licensing for Cameron Mackintosh. He has worked for the Society of London Theatre and the BBC. Among other things he is currently preparing to run the Creative Production MA at the RCS, running his coaching and mentor service CGO, and marketing his new book “The Anatomy of your Creativity”.

Kath Burlinson is well known for her Authentic Artist Workshops, which she founded in 2007 and has been running in Scotland since 2010.  The intention is to offer artists from any disciplinary background a safe space to explore their work and the opportunity to be guided towards greater personal and artistic realisation. Recent work to have come out of Authentic Artists are Mairi Campbell’s one-woman shows and Rowan Rheingans’s ‘Tales of the Red Dress’. Prior to her work with the Authentic Artist Collective, Kath co-founded The Weird Sisters theatre company with Alison Goldie, winning 5 international Fringe Festival awards. Kath spent 8 years lecturing in English & Drama at the University of Southampton and has a PhD in Victorian poetry. She is a published writer and poet, has stage, TV, film and radio credits and won a Manchester Evening News Award for her solo show, ‘The Mother’s Bones.’

Supported by Creative Scotland



A new round of funding has been announced, to support talented young Scots traditional musicians and dancers.

Arts and cultural organisations across Scotland are invited to apply for a share of £150,000 from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Youth Development Fund to support traditional cultural activity. Organisations can apply for awards of between £5,000 and £20,000.

Administered by Creative Scotland, the fund aims to nurture the talent, skills and ambition of young people (aged 5-26) engaged in traditional Scottish music and dance, specifically in piping, drumming, Highland dance and traditional fiddle playing.

Rucelle Soutar, Chief Operating Officer, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “Now in its third year, we are proud to see The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Youth Talent Development Fund, in partnership with Creative Scotland, continue to nurture excellence in traditional Scottish artforms.

“Since its inception in 1950, supporting the future of the arts has been at the heart of the Tattoo. We have been impressed by the incredible talent that exists around the country and are absolutely thrilled to be helping young people from a variety of backgrounds develop their creative skills.

“As we approach our 70th anniversary in 2020, we are very much looking forward to receiving applications for this year’s fund and helping arts groups around Scotland to develop exciting new work with the next generation of extraordinary talent.”

Joan Parr, Interim Director of Arts & Engagement, Creative Scotland said: “We are delighted to continue working in partnership with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (REMT) to deliver this fund, which supports and celebrates the talents of Scotland’s young traditional artists.

“For a third consecutive year, the Fund will provide young people from across Scotland with a wonderful opportunity to progress their skills in traditional Scottish arts, support organisations to create new and innovative work, and increase participation in piping, drumming Highland dance and traditional fiddle playing.”

Notes to Editors

Funding guidance and application forms are available on the Royal Military Tattoo Fund page.

The deadline for applications is midnight on Monday 3 February 2020. Proposed work from selected projects should be carried out between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo first performed in 1950 and is 69 years old. The event has sold out for the last 21 consecutive years. The Tattoo is performed to a live audience of 220,000 annually on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle with a further global TV audience of over 100 million.

Performers from 50 countries have taken part.  In 2010, the event was renamed The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo after Her Majesty the Queen bestowed the Royal title in honour of its 60th birthday. HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, is the Patron of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, The Tattoo has donated over £11million to Services and Arts organisations since 1950 from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Charities) Limited – its charitable company.

The Tattoo generates £77million annually for the Scottish economy with a further £30million GBP in FTE.

In 2018, the Tattoo revealed its intent to continue the company’s growth through an ambitious international expansion and doubling turn-over to £20million by 2025. The Tattoo has performed overseas on four occasions, most recently Australia in February 2019.

Find out more on the Tattoo website:

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

Further information at

Follow us @creativescots on Twitter and Instagram, and

Media contact

Claire Thomson, Media Relations & PR Officer, Creative Scotland


T: 0141 302 1708 | M: 07747 606 146

Image credit: The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo


Scottish Traditional Boat Festival Celebrates Wave of Success

The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival has been crowned winner of the Best Cultural Event / Festival category at the Aberdeen City & Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA).

The accolade was presented to Festival Co-Chairs Vivien Rae and Myles Murray at the awards evening in Aberdeen on Friday 22 November by BBC presenter Judith Ralston, and Claire Bruce, Chair of Visit Aberdeenshire, company sponsor of the award category.

Festival Co-Chair, Vivien Rae said, “We’re absolutely delighted to be taking this award back to Portsoy. It’s a great achievement for the Festival to be recognised as the best in the region and a firm acknowledgement of the dedication and hard work of the volunteers who make it happen each year. It’s also in recognition of our many sponsors, supporters and funders for their continuous support and investment, which we are very grateful for.”

Myles Murray, Co-Chair, added “The Boat Festival is a major event in the North East of Scotland and it’s great that all the hard work by the volunteer team has been recognised with the presentation of this prestigious award. The Festival attracts visitors from near and far, and as a team we will continue to develop the event for the enjoyment of those visiting Portsoy.”

As regional winners, the Boat Festival has earned its place at the prestigious National Final in March, where it will join the country’s tourism elite to be honoured with the highest accolade in the Scottish hospitality and tourism sector.

The award comes a week after it was announced that the Festival has been selected as one of the organisations to be supported by the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 events fund, managed by EventScotland. The additional funding will support an enhanced programme of marine and coastal activities to be added to next year’s event on 20 & 21 June 2020.


One of the most popular events in Scotland’s tourism calendar, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival attracts up to 16,000 people to the town of Portsoy every year.

The next Boat Festival takes place on 20 & 21 June 2020 in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire, when it will showcase the best in Scotland’s maritime, crafts, food, drink, music and dance.

In 2020, Scotland celebrates its coasts and waters with a year long programme of events and activities which will shine a spotlight on these vital elements of our landscape. From our beautiful natural features including coasts, lochs and rivers to our industrial heritage such as our canals, mills, and the creation of our national drink – whisky, Scotland’s coasts and waters have shaped our culture, our stories and our way of life. The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival has been selected as one of the organisations to be supported by the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 events fund, managed by EventScotland.

More information and tickets for the 2020 event can be found at:



Solas Festival, the annual multi-arts midsummer festival which features music, performance, workshops, talks, literature, children’s activities and more as part of its programme will return in 2020 for the second year at its new location of Errol Park, Perthshire. Recognising the need for change in the face of climate crisis, this 11th edition will take an environmental theme, and strive to create a make//shift world over the course of the weekend.

Speaking on the theme choice, Festival Co-ordinator Debs Hahn states:

‘We are more aware than ever of a need for change in the face of Climate Emergency. In 2020 we will create a make//shift world, where we explore what this change might look like, and start enacting it together.

We will explore the natural world and think about our own connection to the land and the planet. The Climate Emergency is the number one issue facing all of us at Solas, whether you join us from Dundee or Dhaka, and we will confront it by inviting our temporary community to live and dream together to create a new imagined reality. We want to use our time and space with you to listen to experiences of the climate crisis, explore solutions from waste to wind, commons to communes, and enact a micro-version of the society we want to live in, moving beyond growth and waste to a new commons based on long-term ecological thought. As always, we will strive to be particularly welcoming to children and families, in recognition of the fact that the climate emergency will impact on our future generations, and we will create an intergenerational space of sharing and collectivity in the face of this.

Solas Festival is also hopeful – we believe a new reality must have art and music at its core and will bring you the most inspiring, engaging music and performance we can to take us forward together. We are looking into ways we can make our temporary community more sustainable and environmentally sound from 2020 into the future, and are investigating options including renewable energy, composting toilets and much more.’

Solas Festival will take place from the 19th to the 21st of June next year at Errol Park. Early bird tickets are currently on sale, with significant concessionary discounts as well as group discounts for groups of 10 or more, and free tickets for children under 12. Line up and programme announcements will be announced in the new year, with previous festivals featuring the likes of Karine Polwart, Niteworks, Kobi Onyame, 47Soul, Jackie Kay, Josie Long, Honeyblood, The Vaselines and many more.



Enrolment for Fun Fiddle adult classes starting Thursday January 16th 2020 is now open. Based at The Wash House, Portobello, here’s what’s on offer January to March, and all the info you need on how to enrol.

Intermediate Fiddle with Rona Wilkie 6.45 – 8pm
Improving Beginners Fiddle with Ros Gasson  8 – 9.15pm
Advanced Fiddle with Rona Wilkie 8 – 9.15pm

For information on each class and how to choose your level CLICK HERE

You can sign up for a fiddle class HERE


Give the Gift of Stories this Holiday Season

Happy St Nicholas Day!

Ho Ho Ho! Let us take you away from the stress of the holiday season with a carefully curated list of gift ideas that even the Grinch would like. After all, who doesn’t love a good story?

Storytelling Centre Supporter Pass

Do you know someone who loves (or would learn to love!) the Scottish Storytelling Centre? Why not gift a Storytelling Centre Supporter membership this Christmas? Purchase a membership before Thursday 19 December, and we will send you a SCS membership card in the mail just in time for Christmas.

Click here to purchase a pass.

What’s included:

    • Discounts on many Centre events, including the Scottish International Storytelling Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe
    • 10% discount in our bookshop
    • 10% discount in the Storytelling Café
    • Invites to special events
    • A quarterly mailing of our What’s On guide (by post if desired)
    • Contributing to the development and work of the SSC
    • Once you have purchased the membership we will be in touch with further information

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call on 0131 556 9579 or email

Membership active from the 1/01/2020

Festive Picks from the Bookshop

Our independent bookshop, located in the medieval luckenbooths of the John Knox House, is a haven for classic tales for young and old, Scottish folklore, graphic novels and books on Scottish history. We have an eclectic collection, and with no online store, it’s back to shopping the old fashioned way! Our lovely staff is always happy to help with recommendations – just ask!

We’re open:

    • Mon – Sat: 10am – 6pm
    • Evenings during performances

Come in and enjoy a browse!

Counting Blessings
£7.99 | Ages 2-5
Counting Blessings is a delightful book that reminds us to appreciate and be grateful for what we have, from a happy family to the blue sky above. This book is charmingly illustrated and beautifully written, and it is a perfect bedtime story for your wee ones.
An absolutely spellbinding series of vignettes about exploration and the natural world. The reader uncovers eccentric characters, distant lands and an infinite sense of wonder. The stories are complimented by stunning illustrations from Mary-Alice Harel.
The Sleeper and the Spindle
£12.99 | 9+
Effortlessly charming and delightfully twisted, this collaboration from winning duo Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell subverts well-known fairy-tales, rewriting them in a poignant, witty way. Gaiman’s love for the stories we tell each other shines through on every page, making this book perfect for both reading to young ones and enjoying yourself on a cold winter’s evening.
The Book of Beasties
£8 | 9+
Designed to mimic an old-fashioned textbook that could have been plucked straight out of the classes of Harry Potter, this wickedly weird book examines a wide range of Scottish beasts and creatures. The sketches and typography evoke the sense that the book has been handwritten, and you can spend ages pouring over every entry, each stranger than the last.

Supper with Burns

Show someone the power of stories with a taster of one of our events, our ever popular Supper with Burns.

Thu 23 & Fri 24 Jan | 7pm (2hrs 30) | £30

A seasonal favourite! Join us for an alternative Burns Supper in the beautiful setting of the Storytelling Court, serving up a delicious 3-course Scottish dinner – with the centre piece Haggis – and a generous helping of Burns’ stories, song and lore. Hosted by storytellers David Campbell and Ruth Kirkpatrick, with clarsach player Katie Harrigan. Also featuring Daniel Allison’s wonderful rendition of Tam O’Shanter!

Book early to avoid disappointment!

Part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals.

Book Now

Holiday Events at the Centre

We’re feeling festive at the Centre, and our December programme is chock full of events to get you in the holiday spirit! Strange Town is back with three pantos with a twist: CindySno Wite & The 7 Dickensians and Jaq & The Beanstalk, and you can catch holiday favourite It’s a Wonderful Life starting next Sunday.

Storyteller Daniel Serridge is makes his epic return with a festive edition of his popular Fringe show, Feast of Fools: Christmas Special, and if you’re looking for a little bit of magic after Christmas Day, check out our Magic Festival events, A Matter of Perspective – An Exhibition on Photographic IllusionsMagic School and Tricky Ricky Christmas Madness!

Check out our full programme.


A Celebration of Generosity, Kindness and Compassion at St Andrew’s Fair Saturday

Every year, St Andrew’s Day garners feasts and celebrations across the nation. It’s a time of compassion, reflection and good fun. This year at the Centre, we’re celebrating our national holiday with two Ceilidhs – a family Ceilidh for all the family and a Ceilidh House to close the day – as well as a multi-sensory storytelling session! There’s something for everyone as we come together to celebrate Scotland’s patron saint, who was known for being fair, generous and inclusive. As we draw nearer to winter, St Andrew’s Day presents an opportunity for families, friends and strangers alike to come together in celebration and to give back, all to honour St Andrew’s legacy.

Despite being Scotland’s patron saint, St Andrew never actually set foot in Scotland and was born in Galilee (present day Northern Israel). Before becoming one of Jesus’s twelve apostles, along with his brother, St Peter, our patron saint was a fisherman. According to legend, his relics were brought here by a monk, Saint Regulus. He had a vision of an angel who instructed him to take St Andrew’s relics – his right hand, the upper right bone of his arm, one of his kneecaps and one of his teeth –  to “the end of the world” so he took them to the city of St Andrews, and we’ve been celebrating the saint ever since!

It’s no wonder St Andrew is the cause of so many festivities here in Scotland, our national flag, The Saltire is also called ‘St Andrew’s Cross’. Why? Because when St Andrew was sentenced to death, he refused to be crucified on the same cross as Jesus as he didn’t think he was worthy and instead requested a diagonal cross, which now features on the flag. Bonus fact: the Scottish flag is thought to be the oldest in Europe!

St Andrew’s Fair Saturday: Raising Awareness for Help Musicians UK 

In our second year of participating in Fair Saturday, a global movement dedicated to creating positive social impact through arts and culture, we’re teaming up with Help Musicians UK, who provide practical and positive support to musicians at any stage in their career. Throughout this day of dedicated celebrations, we will raise awareness and funds of the worthwhile work they continue to do for musicians.

Suzanne Miller, Help Musicians UK Office Manager, says:

“As far back as 1000 AD, international feasts and celebrations have been held in St Andrew’s honour across the globe. And as with any celebration, storytelling through music has kept the compassion and philanthropy of St. Andrew at the forefront of these festivities. This history of generosity and supporting people to flourish is very close to our heart as a charity.”

“For nearly 100 years Help Musicians have been providing a lifetime of support, when it’s needed most, to Scotland’s musicians and music creators. Without the time, dedication and talent of our country’s musicians and music creators, celebrations such as this one wouldn’t happen. With Help Musicians support through health and welfare grants, 24/7 mental health access, hearing health schemes as well as creative development funds our holistic approach enables Scotland’s musicians to thrive.”

Celebrating Inclusivity with Tactile Tales and Rattling Rhymes

One of St Andrew’s defining characteristics was his dedication to inclusion wherever his travels took him, matching the ethos of the Scottish Storytelling Centre as a truly inclusive and accessible venue. At 11am, come along to Tactile Tales and Rattling Rhymes, a multi-sensory storytelling session that is particularly suited for children with additional needs and their families and friends. Join storyteller Ailie Finlay as she takes you on a hands-on journey full of stories, games and plenty of opportunities to join in the fun!

As a Scottish Storytelling Forum Directory storyteller, Ailie is no stranger to the Centre. She has worked as a storytelling and puppeteer for over 20 years and is particularly interested in storytelling for people with additional needs, rooted in the belief that to listen to and tell stories is a fundamental human experience that no one should go without.

She says:

“I believe very strongly that Scotland’s old tales are for everyone! It is particularly important to remember this on our national day. I have adapted the stories in Tactile Tales and Rattling Rhymes from traditional tales to make them multi-sensory, bouncy, tickly and squidgy! I’ve included big bold colours, smells and lots of tactile props to make sure that this St Andrews day session really reaches out to everyone. It will be fun for all but is particularly designed with children with additional needs in mind.”

The selection of stories at this event link to the new downloads of inclusive sensory stories available on the TRACS website.

Following a morning of storytelling adventures with Ailie Finlay, we are hosting a Family Ceilidh for your little ones at 2pm. After all, our St Andrew’s Day events wouldn’t be complete without an opportunity for all ages to join in on the St Andrew’s Day dance, song and story fun!

The Perfect Way to Close the Day: The Ceilidh House

Our St Andrew’s Day Ceildh House at 7.30pm will close our day of specially organised events. The word ‘Ceilidh’ stems from the old Irish céle, meaning ‘companion’, which later evolved to céilidhe or céilidh, meaning ‘to visit’.  With a strong sense of community in mind, our Ceilidh House looks to older traditions and incorporates music and storytelling in addition to dance. At the heart of it, our Ceilidh House is a unique opportunity for masses to join from far and near to sing, laugh and dance to honour St Andrew’s spirit. As part of our line-up of events, we’re welcoming contributions from dancer Alison Carlyle, musician Sarah Hoy and singer and storyteller Claire McNicol.

Dancer Alison Carlyle says:

“St Andrew’s Day is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on our fantastic traditions of music, song, dance and language. The handing down of stories and legends associated with St Andrew is part of the broader transmission of cultural traditions over generations. The sense of community that this creates is still so relevant to our modern society.”

“I will be dancing to strathspeys and reels, using the rhythms of the feet as a percussive accompaniment to the music. In my stepdancing, I will be blending some of the oldest steps handed down over hundreds of years with new steps written in the tradition. Stepdance was largely lost in Scotland but kept alive by those who emigrated to Nova Scotia and subsequently reintroduced by them in the 1990s. It was other Scottish emigrants to North America who instigated the custom of celebrating St Andrew on 30th November, so it’s fitting that these two traditions come together on this night.”

Join our exciting line-up of events on November 30, as we raise awareness of a worthwhile cause through Fair Saturday and celebrate Scotland’s place as an outward looking nation and our strong tradition of song, dance and story, while reflecting on our patron saint’s powerful legacy.


Tactile Tales and Rattling Rhymes
Sat 30 Nov | 11am (45mins) | £5 per child | All Ages
Family Ceilidh
Sat 30 Nov | 2pm (1hr 30) | £5 (£4.50 SCS)
The Ceilidh House
Sat 30 Nov | 7.30pm (2hrs) | £10 (£8) (£7.50 SCS)

View All Events



If you’re involved in teaching trad music on a regular basis, where can you go for support in reflecting on and developing your work? Maybe you‘d like to make some changes? Struggling to juggle several jobs? Need a confidence boost? Would you like to discuss things in confidence with a mentor? This year, the TMF launched a new project called TradMentor, which provides a framework for mentoring partnerships to do just this.

We’ve been piloting mentoring for a few years now – there’s widespread evidence that mentoring works and we’re pleased to have funding from YMI to put in place a coordinator and train a team of mentors. The TMF is a member of the Scottish Mentoring Network, which offers training, quality awards, thematic networks and other resources, and has been invaluable in helping to get TradMentor started.

The project coordinator is Dr Jo Miller, ‘Highly Commended Mentor’ at the SMN awards in2014, and our first six mentors are Marie Fielding, Gica Loening, Grant McFarlane, Anne Martin, Gillian Stevenson and Daniel Thorpe. They will be working with 10 trad musicians from across Scotland over the next few months. Look out for updates on the progress of the project, and how to get involved in the next cycle.

In November, participants came together for the launch of TradMentor, and here they are in the photo above!



Vote for your favourite act or organisation now!

Broadcast live on BBC ALBA across the world, The Scots Trad Music Awards give recognition to excellence within Scotland’s thriving musical culture, encompassing all aspects of traditional music from Gaelic Song, Folk, Scottish Dance music, to Pipe Bands and a host of others in between.

Click here to vote now! (Voting closes 24th November)
Buy a ticket for the fabulous awards ceremony at the Aberdeen Music Hall, 7th December 2019.