First minister, alex salmond celebrates scotland at launch of 'exceptional' homecoming 2014 programme

An all-star concert to herald the opening of the Ryder Cup, a huge flotilla to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge, Europe’s biggest brass band festival and a thrilling re-enactment of the Battle of Bannockburn are just some of the spectacular events that will form Scotland’s 2014 Year of Homecoming, it was announced today.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond officially unveiled the first phase of the year-long programme of events at Hopetoun House, near South Queensferry, alongside Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland.

VisitScotland and EventScotland are working in partnership with the Scottish Government to deliver Homecoming 2014 - an opportunity for communities nationally and internationally to explore Scotland and celebrate the very best of Scottish culture.

Around 100 events were unveiled at the launch, with hundreds more expected to be unveiled over the next few months.   This includes many new events, established events which will have a new homecoming element for 2014 and those that have joined through the partner programme to benefit from in-kind marketing. The five themes for Homecoming 2014 - active, food and drink, creative, natural and ancestry are all represented.

Brand new events include the John Muir Festival in East Lothian to herald the opening of the John Muir coast to coast route, the Forth Bridges Festival to mark its 50th anniversary, a spectacular Ryder Cup Opening Concert, the Findhorn Bay Arts Festival in Moray, the World Sheepdog Trials in Tain and the European Festival of Brass based in Perthshire.

Many existing events, including Hogmanay, Edinburgh Festivals, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, the Edinburgh Mela Festival, the Royal National MOD, the Turriff Show, the East Neuk Festival, the Outdoor Orkney Festival and Tweedlove Bike Festival will receive funding for new and exciting Homecoming additions to their planned programmes for 2014.

With around 50 million people around the world claiming Scottish heritage, diaspora and clan-related events form a key part of Homecoming. These include around 30 events, including the celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the Aboyne Highland Games, the Inverness Highland Meeting 2014, the 10th Clan Munro International Gathering, the Dunfermline Bruce Festival and Piping Live!.

An events fund of £3m will provide a stunning all-year-round programme of activity to complement the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games and it will be backed by a £1.75m marketing campaign by VisitScotland which will promote Homecoming 2014 at home and abroad.

First Minister, Alex Salmond said, “Scotland is preparing to welcome the world during our second Year of Homecoming in 2014.  Next year, people from all across the globe with Scottish connections – and those without - will come to our country to celebrate with friends and family and enjoy the huge programme of events that I am delighted to unveil today.

"Fantastic expressions of culture such as Europe’s biggest brass band festival will sit alongside the exciting commemorations of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and a variety of celebrations of Scotland’s heritage, history and food and drink in a 12 month schedule that truly does offer something for everyone in every corner of the country.

“We are already preparing to stage two of the largest sporting events on the planet during 2014, and with the packed programme of events being announced today – and many more in the pipeline – there really couldn’t be a better time to plan a trip to Scotland and join in the fun.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said, “With the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, the eyes of the world will be firmly on Scotland in 2014. Next year’s Homecoming will position our country as dynamic and creative with a rich history and culture.

The exceptional events unveiled today will celebrate everything that is great about Scotland and will ensure that the world will receive the most spectacular of welcomes in 2014.” 

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