MORE than 9000 music fans are set to descend on Perthshire to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean’s own festival.
The celebrated musician, who is marking his 40th year as a professional performer in 2014, is hoisting the sold-out signs ahead of the start of “Perthshire Amber” on Friday.
He started it as a weekend festival, but it has grown over the last decade to become a 10-day event now thought to be worth almost £1 million to the local economy.
Originally launched to help MacLean showcase his large body of songwriting material, as well as the Perthshire countryside which has inspired much of his music, the festival will feature more than 350 musicians this year.
MacLean - best known for his anthem “Caledonia” - has lined up concerts in castles, village and town halls, hotels, historic places of worship, a whisky distillery and even an Iron Age crannog, with 25 venues spread across Perthshire in the programme.
Some of Scotland’s leading musicians and singers, including Eddi Reader, Rachel Sermanni, Sorren MacLean and Emily Smith will be appearing at the festival, which will also see MacLean join forces with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for a centrepiece gala at Perth Concert Hall.
MacLean, 60, will also be performing at venues as varied as Dunkeld Cathedral, Blair Castle, Aberfeldy Town Hall and Scotland’s smallest distillery, Edradour, in Pitlochry.
Overseas musicians performing at the festival - which has been expanded this year after funding was secured to make it part of the Homecoming Scotland programme - are flying in from the likes of Nashville, Vancouver and Cape Breton.
Perthshire Amber uses Dunkeld as a base and plays host to intimate concerts, pub sessions and special events like Saturday’s heritage day, including a decorated wheelbarrow through the streets of the historic town.
MacLean, who performed Caledonia at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, said: “The last minute preparations for the festival always include a frantic few days ahead of the launch, but the whole team is really looking forward to getting started, and I can’t wait.
“We have a fantastic line-up and a great fringe programme of walks, talks and workshops. The scenery is stunning this year, so even if you don’t have a ticket yet, get up to Dunkeld and join the 10th anniversary festival fun.”
Perthshire Amber runs until 2 November.