The programme will showcase the music, arts, food, sport and history of the islands, as well as highlight their unique beauty as visitor destinations.
The initiative aims to raise the profile of the islands across the UK and internationally, attract more visitors, bolster economic development and strengthen links between the islands and mainland cultural organisations.
The programme includes over 100 events across 42 islands. Highlights include the return of The Lewis Chessmen to the island, the award-winning Shetland Folk Festival, culture-packed St Magnus International Festival on Orkney, the Tiree Music Festival, Isle of Skye Pipeband 50th Anniversary and Arran on Film by Arran Theatre & Arts Trust.
The Hebridean Celtic Festival on Lewis, also set to be a highlight, will be headlined by Scots chart-topper KT Tunstall, with performances by Seth Lakeman, the Peatbog Faeries and folk supergroup, KAN.
KT said: “I’m so looking forward to playing the Hebrides. It’s going to be a proper adventure followed by a top knees-up. I’m delighted to be a part of it.”
Murdo Mackay, project leader for Western Isles council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said: “We are absolutely delighted with the programme of events that will make up the Year of Scotland’s Islands. In the 12 months that this initiative is running, we are supporting over 100 events with a combined budget of more than £4 million. The diversity and quality of requests for funding support has been very high, and with music, art, dance, literature, theatre, and gourmet events galore, whatever your interests this is truly a year to visit Scotland’s Islands.”
The Scotland’s Islands initiative has been developed through a partnership of the six local authorities with island communities – Argyll and Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Shetland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Other stakeholders include Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Event Scotland, VisitScotland and Awards for All.
For more information on the Scotland’s Islands initiative visit: www.scotlandsislands.com