A NEW record has been set for the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards with more than 100,000 votes cast for this year’s ceremony on Saturday, December 2.

The interest in the awards demonstrates the “impressive resurgence” in Scotland’s traditional music scene, according to event organisers Hands Up For Trad.

This year there are more than 100 nominees representing the past, present and future of Trad in categories that range from best musician to best venue.

This is the 21st anniversary of the awards and to celebrate the Sunday National asked some of the leading people in the trad scene to give their views on its current health.

READ MORE: Doctor Who 60th anniversary cast including David Tennant

Dougie Pincock, recently retired director of the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton, was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame this year for his services to community.

He said: “My career has been roughly coincident with the rise in the professionalisation of Scottish indigenous music, and the work that Hands Up For Trad do has really helped establish that side of our image.

“I’m not generally speaking a fan of awards in the arts, but there’s no question that the Trads have had a hugely positive influence in raising the media profile of the traditional arts in Scotland, particularly music.

“I’ve got no problem with the recognition of people’s lifetime achievements, however, so I can comfortably and genuinely say that being inducted into the Hall of Fame for my work at Plockton is a huge honour.

“The rise of the teenager in traditional music has coincided almost exactly with my own career path, and it’s been a great privilege to have been able to make a contribution in that field, and to be recognised by my peers for it.”

Renowned Scottish singer and multi-instrumentalist Julie Fowlis (below), who is nominated for Musician of the Year at this year’s awards, said: “The Trad Awards are a powerful celebration of the wealth of traditional music in Scotland today. The awards rightly recognise all the different areas of our community; our teachers and tradition bearers, our clubs and outreach projects, our engineers, media creatives and those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to bring live music to the stage and to audiences across the country and beyond. I’m always grateful to be part of such a vibrant and creative community.”

The National:

Martyn MacDonald of Valtos, who won Up and Coming Act of the Year at the 2022 awards and are up for Live Act of the Year this year, said: “It feels like the scene has absolutely exploded over the last few years.

“It was already a very vibrant community with some great bands but the list of nominations for the live act of the year this year is massive. There are six bands nominated this year absolutely pushing boundaries in every direction, while shattering glass ceilings and selling out massive venues.

“It’s incredible to see music with trad influences doing so well and it’s going be extremely tight competition this year. But that’s what’s great about the Trad Awards – it’s absolutely a key part of our calendar because we get to socialise with all our peers who we perhaps don’t see on a regular basis and celebrate every one of them, whether they’re up for an award or not.”

Michael Pellegrotti, director of brand-new Glasgow festival The Reeling, up for Event of the Year, said: “The launch and success of The Reeling this year is a testament to the talent and strength of Scotland’s thriving music scene.

“There was a real desire for a summertime celebration of traditional and folk music in Glasgow, and the vision behind The Reeling was to offer a platform where Scottish music could flourish in a festival atmosphere on the central belt, bridging generations and celebrating our rich cultural heritage.

“Events like The Reeling, along with the prestigious Trad Awards, play a pivotal role in elevating our traditional music, providing not just recognition but also a source of encouragement for artists and enthusiasts alike.”

Musician, broadcaster and organiser of Hoolie in the Hydro, up for Event of the Year, Gary Innes said: “I took a momentous risk and leap of faith in organising the first-ever Hoolie in the Hydro last year as I strongly believe that traditional music should feature and flourish on our country’s biggest stages.

“Over the past decade or so, contemporary collaborations which bridge genres have helped bring traditional music into the mainstream and to a wider audience, which has inadvertently opened some huge doors for the scene as a whole.

“The innovation and boundary-pushing within our trad and folk scene community have propelled it into the spotlight, captivating multiple generations which is utterly fantastic. It’s an honour to see the genre rightfully claim its place on world stages, proving that our culture continues to thrive through its timeless tunes and evolving sounds and songs.”

Bryony Smith of Glassel Gigs, the Banchory venue up for Club of the Year, said: “I’m sure that most people who are ‘there’ when something magical happens don’t realise until afterwards just what a special time they have lived through, but I do think we’re right in the middle of such a special time for Scottish folk and traditional music and we should take a moment to appreciate and savour this. The Trad Awards help to do this, and they provide a focus for and on everyone involved in traditional music, and to see hard work and creativity rewarded like this is truly a wonderful thing!”

READ MORE: Scots composer gives Love Actually film score some fresh love

Margaret Cameron, director of content at MG ALBA, said: “The way in which the MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards has grown and developed over the past 21 years, has exceeded all the expectations of everyone involved in the project, and the event remains an outstanding celebration of Scottish traditional music.

“MG ALBA is delighted to be in a position to continue to sponsor the event and to continue to fund the BBC ALBA commissioned live programme showcasing the evening. It speaks to the real connection our audiences have with Scotland’s traditional music, its artists and the BBC ALBA output.”