Scotland will have its biggest ever winter festival celebrations this year.
Record funding will support 22 key cultural events which will form parts of Scotland’s Winter Festivals 2015/16 programme.
Events will take place in 14 local authorities, with new programme activity in four regions not previously involved – Aberdeen, Dundee, East Ayrshire and Falkirk.
Events will run across Scotland from St Andrew’s Day, through Christmas and Hogmanay, to Burns Night to promote and showcase Scotland as a modern and creative nation with a rich heritage. The programme will provide an opportunity to celebrate the best in Scottish music, arts, food and drink.
Announcing the funding, cabinet secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “This year’s programme sends a clear message that Scotland is open for business during the winter period.
“We want to build on Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme year on year. By increasing the funding package available, I hope these dynamic events will engage, inspire and mobilise communities across Scotland, the UK and internationally.
“The programme offers Scotland a chance to promote and showcase itself as a modern and creative nation, while highlighting our contribution to the world. The number of tourists visiting Scotland rose by 5% during 2014 to more than 15 million.”
The celebrations begin in the lead up to St Andrew’s Day on 30th November with major events in Aberdeen, Argyll and Bute, Dundee, East Lothian, Fife, Glasgow, Dundee and Perth and Kinross.
Five Hogmanay celebrations will be supported through the fund, with events in The Western Isles, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Falkirk and Stirling.
A range of events will also take place across Scotland to celebrate Burns Night, including Burns Unplugged at the National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh. The Scottish Storytelling Centre will host Burnsfest 2016, while the Big Burns Supper Festival will be held in Dumfries and Galloway. A Big Burns Stramash in the Highlands and Alloway 1759 will take place in South Ayrshire, while Burns Birthday in Mauchline will be held in East Ayrshire.