£300,000 pledged to launch biggest clan gathering since 1822
THE biggest gathering of the clans for almost 200 years was given the go-ahead today after securing vital enterprise, tourism and council backing.
Three organisations - Edinburgh City Council, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian and EventScotland - have pledged 300,000 in financial support for The Gathering, the largest get-together of its kind in Scotland since 1822.
Event organisers said that while the 300,000 would only meet a fifth of the expected 1.5 million cost, the financial and marketing support of the three partner organisations would go a long way towards making the event a success.
The rest of the money will come from ticket sales and private enterprise.
More than 8,000 clan members and 30,000 visitors from around the world are expected to congregate in Holyrood Park on 25-26 July, 2009, for The Gathering, one of many events that year which will coincide with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.
This includes a World Highland Games Heavy Events Championships, in Edinburgh, with both events part of the wider Homecoming Scotland drive - a year-long campaign to persuade people with Scots heritage to return to Scotland, either on holiday or to live.
As well as the traditional displays of piping, dancing, athletics and heavy events, featuring 2,000 competitors and performers, the games arena will play host to a food and drink fair. There will also be an exhibition allowing visitors to trace their ancestry, and a live music stage featuring leading contemporary and traditional bands.
The highlight of the Edinburgh programme will be a clan parade up the Royal Mile and historic Pageant of the Clans in the arena on the Castle Esplanade, the first time the clans will have gathered in such numbers in Edinburgh.
Already more than 60 clans have said they want to take part, including Clan Donald, the world's largest clan.
Many US-based clan organisations have already booked hotel rooms in Edinburgh, with VisitScotland and EventScotland estimating the overall economic impact of the event at around 5 million across the country.
The event is being masterminded by Lord Sempill, Chief of the Name and Arms of Sempill and Vice Convenor of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, who has joined forces with event organiser Jenny Gilmour.
Lord Sempill will be travelling to Australia and the United States over the next few months to publicise the event.
He said: "Not since Sir Walter Scott's Royal Pageant in 1822 have so many clans come together, so The Gathering 2009 will be a meaningful historic, as well as cultural, event.
"Our clan tradition and cultural identity are very closely linked and, at a time when Scots are coming to terms with their identity, The Gathering is a fantastic opportunity to reinforce a very important part of our heritage and to celebrate its existence."
Dave Anderson, Senior Director of Operations for Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, said: "Ancestral tourism is a growing market globally and one in which Scotland has a key competitive advantage with its strong sense of heritage and tradition."
And City of Edinburgh Council festival and events champion, Steve Cardownie, added: "The Gathering 2009 will focus the world's attention on Scotland's culture and as hosts we will be ready to make the most of this fantastic opportunity to promote Edinburgh."
BURNS AND GOLF WILL GATHER THEM IN
THE Gathering of the clans in Holyrood Park is just one part of the Homecoming Scotland campaign that has been organised by VisitScotland, Scotland's tourist agency, to attract ex-pat Scots and people of Scots descent back to Scotland.
VisitScotland has set a target of increasing tourist numbers by 50 per cent by 2015 and the year-long Homecoming Scotland campaign is a central part of that drive.
Organisers have based the campaign around five central themes: the home of Robert Burns, the home of the Enlightenment and innovation, the home of golf, the home of whisky, and the home of your ancestors.
The year 2009 has been chosen because that is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. There will be events across Scotland to celebrate the poet's life and works, which organisers hope will give visitors more reason to come to Scotland.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East