The Perthshire Amber Festival

Dougie MacLean has developed a unique festival which shares his inspiring music, celebrates the history and culture of his Perthshire home and showcases its beautiful scenery. The concerts, which welcome high calibre musical guests from Scotland and abroad, are staged in a variety of wonderful venues, from village halls, town halls and a grand concert hall to historic castles and the atmospheric Dunkeld Cathedral.
"A jewel of a festival"
"A festival with vision and imagination"
(Press & Journal)
"The most original acoustic music festival in Scotland today"
(Sing Out Magazine, USA)

Perthshire Amber 2016…Time for a Change!

"Our 10-day festival has grown so many beloved 'arms and legs' over the 11 years of its history … and has become a little unwieldy. All the elements of the festival are valued and time tested now but it is taking too huge an investment in time and energy on our family's part (right through the year) to keep the full 10 day programme going year on year ...and into the future. That 'family feel', the involvement of committed musical friends from near and far and the warm welcome to visitors is at the core of the festival … that personal feel is appreciated again and again in the many wonderful responses we receive.

So we've thought about this long and hard and we plan to distil Perthshire Amber to be a 4 day autumn festival in it’s 12th year…the dates will be Thursday 3rd November - Sunday 6th November, 2016. Many very successful festivals are 2 and 3 day festivals and we believe with the 4 days we can maintain the quality and impact of the existing festival while maintaining the variety of venues throughout Perthshire (crannog, castles, town hall, concert hall) and the layers of performance … from sessions and Open Mic, through Cabaret Amber to the main afternoon and evening concerts. We will still include the increasingly popular Decorated Wheelbarrow Parade and Amber Autumn Picnic (which drew crowds of over 2,000 in 2015) and by popular request The SongBus! For those who want to visit for longer we'll have suggestions for great things to see and enjoy before or after The Big Four Days!

Tickets will go on sale online and by phone at 4pm UK time on Tuesday 10th May. The full programme will be published on the website during the preceding month. The Perthshire Amber Festival has always been a journey, with many changes over the years ... there's no doubt there will be lots more developments in years to come. We look forward to welcoming you all in 2016 for what we feel will be the best festival ever!" Warm Regards, Jenny and Dougie MacLean.

Autumn Glory

Double Celebrations for Perthshire Amber Festival 2015!

Bumper year for Amber and Scottish Thistle Awards Success

18th Novermber 2915. As the leaves fall from the trees in Perthshire and autumn turns to winter the 11th Perthshire Amber Festival has come to a close after ten days of fantastic music.  The festival finished last week (Sunday 8 November) and with over half of the 18 concerts sold out well in advance and an overall 80% of capacity filled, we are confident that they will have gained on last year’s audience numbers of over 10,000.  Visitors from 27 different countries travelled to Scotland to enjoy our ever-popular music festival.

Dougie MacLean PA15Dougie MacLean by the side of the River Tay, Dunkeld (credit Rob McDougall)

Highlights of the festival included the stunning ‘Caledonia Cantata’ at Perth Concert Hall and the “best ever” Friends concert featuring Benny Gallagher, Karine Polwart, The Mae Trio and Elliott Morris.   A record number of people lined the streets of Dunkeld for the unique Decorated Wheelbarrow Parade, led through the streets by the Antonine Guard and members of the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band to Stanley Hill and the Amber Autumn Picnic.  There visitors and locals were treated to an afternoon of alfresco music from Dougie MacLean, Dallahan and Buddy MacDonald in the beautiful autumn sunshine.  Fans were also able to tune in to the evening concerts via Butterstone.TV as many of the concerts were streamed live to an international audience.

Dougie and Bella Hardy PA15Dougie with Bella Hardy at the Opening Concert

The festival also hosted the northern hemisphere launch of Australian folk group The Mae Trio’s new EP ‘September’ at a special reception during the festival and there was a special focus on Perthshire’s fantastic food credentials as part of the Year of Food & Drink.  

Festival Director Jennifer MacLean said:

“We are delighted with the success of this year’s festival, the feedback from our audiences has been overwhelmingly positive.  We are thrilled that we have been able to build on the success of last year, which was such a special one, with Dougie’s collaboration with the RSNO and performance at the Closing Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.”

The good news continued at the Scottish Thistle Awards where the Perthshire Amber was awarded Best Cultural Event or Festival in the Regional Final for Fife and Tayside.

Jude Henderson with Thistle AwardDrew Collier, Operations Director at Caledonian MacBrayne presents Jude Henderson (Perthshire Amber Festival 2014) with the Caledonian MacBrayne - Best Cultural Event or Festival Award. (credit Chris Watt) 

Dougie MacLean, Musical Director and Festival Founder said:

“We are really pleased to receive this recognition for the festival, it’s wonderful to see how it’s grown to be an important fixture in Scotland’s event calendar.  We had no idea, when we came up with the idea over a decade ago, that it would be able to contribute such a lot to the local economy and I’m very proud of that.  In particular, I’d like to pay tribute to my wife Jenny, the Festival Director who has worked tirelessly to make Perthshire Amber the success it is and this award is down to her.”

Thistle Award Best Cultural Event or Festival Award (Photo: Rob McDougall)

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said:

“The Scottish Thistle Awards is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the outstanding individuals and organisations of our tourism and hospitality sector.

We are delighted to see Jenny MacLean and the team at Perthshire Amber collect the award for ‘Best Cultural Event or Festival’. The festival is a fantastic celebration of the region’s culture and history, attracting thousands of visitors, and this award for excellence will only enhance its reputation in Perth and Kinross and within the Scottish tourism sector as a whole.”

Perthshire Amber will return in 2016 – dates to be announced soon!