Scottish bands to rock Holyrood


Performers from across Scotland, traditional and contemporary, will join together for a day of Scottish Parliament activities on Saturday 30 June celebrating Scotland’s heritage and modern achievements

The free afternoon of entertainment, a ‘Picnic at the Parliament’, was unveiled today, ahead of one of the bands taking part – the Red Hot Chilli Pipers (pictured) - visiting the Parliament for a rehearsal.

Piper Stuart Cassells said today on behalf of the band:

"We are really looking forward to being at the Parliament as its set to be a great line up, a real chance to play for all the people of Scotland. Hopefully the weather will be as fantastic as it is today and people will let their hair down and sing along with us.”

Events will commence on the morning of 30 June with an address in the debating chamber by Her Majesty The Queen to Members of the Scottish Parliament and guests.

This ceremony will be broadcast live to a screen in Holyrood’s landscaped gardens, before 1,200 people process down the Royal Mile, in a Riding set to be even more colourful than that for the opening of Holyrood in 2004.

The Riding will sweep past the Palace of Holyroodhouse and into the Parliament’s landscaped grounds, where the ‘Picnic at the Parliament’ will begin at around midday. Sports presenter Grant Stott will compère the concert.

First up will be Blazin’ Fiddles, reputed to be the Led Zeppelin of the folk world and the U2 of their genre. Contemporary in style, the music will be fast-paced and underpinned by inventive guitar and piano accompaniment.

Catriona Watt from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) takes the stage next. Catriona is the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2007, winning the title for her moving performance of Gaelic song.

A boy band with a twist then takes the stage: the TNT Bagpipe Boy Band, also from RSAMD. The world’s first boy band on pipes TNT (The New Tradition) formed in 2006. The band recently signed an album contract and are working on their debut album.

They will be followed by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers – winners earlier this year on Graham Norton’s ‘When Will I Be Famous?’.

They were the only Scottish act in the show and have appeared on the main stage at the T in the Park Festival with the headline band, The Darkness.

Following the Pipers will be Waa-Sylla, a West African group performing their own style of high-energy drum music and dance. They will then hand the stage over to Salsa Celtica, a vibrant ten-piece world fusion band who combine salsa rhythms with traditional Scottish sounds.

The Inverness Gaelic Choir ( Còisir Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis) make a welcome return, having performed in 1999 at the Opening of Parliament and again in 2003 when The Queen addressed Members at the start of the Parliament’s second term.

Highland 2007 is the year that Scotland celebrates Highland culture and Fèis Rois Young Musicians will take to the stage later in the afternoon. Established in 1986, the group provides year-round tuition and performance events for young people.

The final set will be from the Portobello Ceilidh Band. The band holds the record for the Longest Strip the Willow in the World – performed at the Night Afore New Year street celebrations in 2005.

Presiding Officer, Alex Fergusson MSP said:

"Our aim is to offer all people of Scotland something that reflects our heritage and our future. As the people’s Scottish Parliament it is important the day offers something for everyone to take part in.

"The Scottish Parliament has been sitting for more than eight years – but with this lively line-up it’s unlikely that people will be sitting around for long. These bands demonstrate the wealth of talent that Scotland has to offer – from traditional and modern genres.”

The day will be webcast live on the Parliament website,


Further details on the day including the Riding route, participants and guest list will be released next week.

The event to mark the start of the third session is in three parts:


Debating chamber: Address by Her Majesty The Queen. This will be relayed live to a screen in the landscaped gardens of the Parliament.

The ‘Riding’: Around 1,200 people representing all fields of Scottish achievement, interspersed with bands, banners and performers will make their way down the Royal Mile to Holyrood.

Lunchtime onwards

Landscaped gardens: A free public event with live music – traditional, contemporary, multi-cultural and international – drama and dance. Guests and the public will be able to sit together in the gardens with their picnics. Café-style tables and chairs will also be available for guests in a sheltered area at the front of the Parliament.

Free exhibitions: In the Scottish Parliament building, which will be open to the public.

Background on the Red Hot Chilli Pipers

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who recently won BBC TV’s “When Will I be Famous”, are an exciting fast paced act featuring three pipers and two percussionists. The line-up includes BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2005, piper Stuart Cassells. The group have been described as bagpipes with attitude and drums with a Glasgow accent.

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