National Collective has today announced details of a major cultural tour taking place all across Scotland this summer. A group of pro-independence artists will travel the length and breadth of Scotland, hosting musicians, writers, activists and more in cultural events throughout communities around the country in July.
The tour will be one aspect of a month long Yestival, will bring art, music, film, spoken-word and cultural activism to every city in Scotland.
The tour will appear in every Scottish city and travel through the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, the Central Belt and the North East, and take in the Western Isles, the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland.
This busy schedule will include a mixture of larger and smaller pop-up community events, with a few surprises along the way.
There are local National Collective chapters in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Inverness, Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Argyll and Shetland.
Ross Colquhoun, Director of National Collective, said:
“Yestival will be a major cultural event at the centre of Scotland’s summer of independence and will be an exciting way of taking the Yes message directly to people in their communities.
“After a Yes vote independence will seem totally normal. It will be hard to imagine anything else. But people need to have the confidence that it will work before they can put their cross next to Yes in September.
“Of course creating that confidence is partly about economics and political preparation. But it is also about cultural confidence, about confidence in your community and its people, and about the basic democratic principle that Scotland should govern itself.
“The Yestival tour will be about adding a bit of fun and imagination into the referendum campaign, and inviting the people of Scotland to dare to dream. We’re calling on all artists, writers and activists to join in, now’s the time.”
Andrew Barr, a National Collective member who will be going on the tour, comments:
“The Yes campaign has developed into a truly huge grassroots movement, and the dedication of independence supporters is pushing the polls towards a Yes in September.
“Yestival will be whatever grassroots campaigners make of it. We want people to make the summer of independence colourful, diverse and engaging in your community as others do the same across the country.
“We’re living history right now. There’s a real buzz around Scotland and that’s only going to build as we get closer to September.”
2013 Scottish Album of the Year winner and 2014 nominee RM Hubbert:
“We’re living in a very exciting time. It’s been a long time since the Scottish people truly had a chance to influence our own future. We should celebrate this opportunity. Music, art and debate. What’s not to love?”
Scottish folk singer (who featured in the Pixar film Brave) Julie Fowlis:
“Yestival seems to be a great opportunity to showcase Scotland’s contemporary musicians, writers and artists and to maintain that strong artist perspective to the independence debate. That the tour is travelling across Scotland’s diverse and vibrant communities – urban, rural and island alike – is a story in itself.”
Visual artist Craig Coulthard:
“Scotland has the opportunity to shape its own future, to take responsibility for itself and to focus on the issues that matter most to its citizens. As an artist, I see the work of National Collective in engaging people in a contemporary, creative and open debate about Scotland’s future as admirable and inspiring. Yestival will provide the opportunity for people around the country to continue this debate at close quarters in an imaginative and enjoyable manner. It is a contemporary approach for a contemporary debate and one which can help to set standards for the future, in stark contrast to the fear and foostiness of other political movements.”
Playwright and theatre director David Greig:
“National Collective have been the inspiration of the independence debate so far. Their website is fantastic, publishing thought and ideas outside the party political spectrum. Their events are full of music, comedy, poetry and people being active and engaged with big political ideas. I was at one in Edinburgh and it was stowed out, people in their 70′s cheek by jowl with kids fresh out of school. Out of one idea – independence – they’re drawing complexity, imagination and grassroots engagement. It’s as far away from a party conference as you can imagine. They really are the spirit of the moment.”
Read the full press release here.
Photograph by Alex Aitchison