"I've long dreamt of a 'festival-type' situation where I could really enjoy performing a wide body of my own work. After many years of accumulating quite a lot of songs and tunes it can be frustrating sometimes that concerts can only last a couple of hours!" (Dougie MacLean). Internationally acclaimed Singer-songwriter and Composer Dougie MacLean fulfilled his dream with the creation of The Perthshire Amber Festival, a festival that lights up the Autumn across some of Scotland's more beautiful countryside.
In 1998 Dougie was commissioned to write a piece of music for the Perth Festival of the Arts. He combined beautiful slow airs, majestic marches and toe-tapping reels and jigs with exquisite string arrangement by Kevin McCrae. What was born was described as "an irresistible tapestry of tunes, rhythms, instrumental and orchestral colours, harmonies and textures." (Michael Tumelty - The Herald). This composition was called 'Perthshire Amber'.
The Dougie MacLean with Strings Concert at the very first Perthshire Amber Weekend in 2005! (with Pete Clark and Ross Ainslie...and John Morran and Jamie MacLean, though hidden)
Perthshire is a beautiful county in the heart of Scotland, abundant with trees, lochs, rivers, mountains and moorland. It is the home of Dougie MacLean and many of his songs and melodies have been inspired by this land and the the people who surrounded him there in his youth and to this day. The Perthshire Amber Festival includes concert performances in an inspiring range of venues...from concert hall, town halls and village halls to castles, cathedral and even an Iron Age crannog! It gives locals and visitors the opportunity to explore Perthshire with a focus, and for enthusiasts for Dougie MacLean's music to experience the place where he lives and to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of and inspiration for some of his songs and instrumental compositions.
'Amber' as a word is evocative of golden, rich, autumnal colour... something that Perthshire is renowned for. The Perthshire Amber Festival happens annually beginning on the first weekend in November, a perfect time to experience these colours!
The memorable Dougie with Friends Concert in 2006
The Perthshire Amber Festival brings together many musicians and entertainers from different parts of the world who have been involved with Dougie MacLean over the years. It also provides an opportunity for him to perform little heard songs, as well as well known favourites! From the first festival in 2005 Dougie has delivered, (as far as earthly possible!) his promise of "no song repeated"!!
Dougie opens the 2014 Perthshire Amber Festival in Pitlochry Town Hall
Over the many years of it's existence Perthshire Amber has developed from a weekend of concerts to a 4-day for a couple of years, then a 10-day festival for seven years and then in 2016 a return to a 4-day festival! After a break in 2017 (for a re-think and re-fresh) we returned in 2018 to a 3-day festival packed full of music in all the varied ways it can be enjoyed from concerts in concert hall and castle chapel, to Cabaret Amber, Open Mic and music sessions in pubs. The move of it's base to Dunkeld, with concerts throughout the whole county, has been a resounding success! The Perthshire Amber is now an important part of Scotland's musical calendar and an event that all of Perthshire can be proud of!