2017 heritage festival to light up iconic sites

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A festival celebrating the Borders’ heritage is set to light up iconic sites across the region next month.

Now its ninth year, the Borders Heritage Festival will celebrate Scotland’s year of history, heritage and archeology with more than 200 events being held throughout September.

Four new creative commissions will run each weekend with the first, Lighting the Borders, taking place on Friday, September 1.

That will see 25 historical venues across the Borders illuminated with light, story and song.

Sites include Neidpath Castle in Peebles, where music will be provided by piper, Matt Seattle, the Scottish Vocal Ensemble and harpist Savourna Stevenson; Bowhill House, where a family-friendly torchlight parade will take place; and Jedburgh Castle Jail, set to host storytelling by Sue Scowcroft and James Wyness.

On Thursday, September, 7, Sounding out the Past will see around 55 schoolchildren from Selkirk and Galashiels perform their own song cycle alongside the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, inspired by three historic Borders buildings.

Where Teviot Rins will celebrate the life and history of the river with the help of local historians and musicians at Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick, on Sunday, September 10.

On Saturday, September 30, there will be a performance of medival music with the Scottish Vocal Ensemble at Dryburgh Abbey titled Illuminating the Past.

The festival has been organised by Scottish Borders Council and Live Borders, working alongside the Borders Heritage Forum, set up last year to promote heritage for cultural and economic benefit.

Scottish Government culture, tourism and external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Borders Heritage Festival, now in its ninth year, offers a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our diverse heritage through a series of exciting activities, ranging from theatre to dance, tours and workshops, and includes something for everyone.

“I am pleased the Scottish Government is supporting this year’s festival through the 2017 year of history, heritage and archaeology events fund, and I am confident people of all ages will travel far and wide to the participating sites to explore the myths and legends of the Borders and the people who made them.”

Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Live Borders, added: “Through leading on an ambitious funding plan, Live Borders is delighted to be working in partnership with the council and the Borders Heritage Forum to deliver an enhanced festival with a programme of over 200 events.

“Going forward, we hope the festival will continue to go from strength to strength with the Forum playing a crucial role.”

For details, visit www.