Folk and traditional music fans are being encouraged to have their say on the best in the business, as nominations for the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards open today.

Celebrating its 21st edition in 2023, the awards have grown each year to reflect the burgeoning traditional music scene. A true coming of age celebration, this year’s ceremony offers a chance to reflect on the successes of the past two decades.

The public have the chance to nominate their musical heroes across a range of categories, from clubs, projects and events, to bands, singers and composers.

The nominees will be unveiled on Monday 6th November, before voting opens to allow fans to pick their winners, which will be announced at the Caird Hall in Dundee on Saturday 2nd December.

There will be a total of 22 award categories celebrated over the course of the evening, with the nominees representing the past, present and future of Scotland’s traditional music scene. The categories which are open to the public vote are:

  • Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year
  • Club of the Year
  • Community Project of the Year
  • Composer of the Year, sponsored by PRS for Music
  • Event of the Year
  • Gaelic Singer of the Year, sponsored by The Highland Society of London
  • Live Act of the Year
  • Music Tutor of the Year, sponsored by Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative
  • Musician of the Year, sponsored by The University of The Highlands and Islands
  • Original Work of the Year
  • Scottish Dance Band of the Year
  • Scottish Folk Band of the Year, sponsored by Threads of Sound
  • Scottish Pipe Band of the Year
  • Trad Music in the Media, sponsored by Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Trad Video of the Year
  • Up and Coming Artist of the Year, sponsored by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Venue of the Year

Elsewhere, the Album of the Year Award, sponsored by Birnam CD, will be taken from a longlist of submissions for the category.

A number of other special awards are also awarded on the evening selected by a panel of esteemed industry judges to recognise individuals who have made a lasting impact on the scene. These are the Services to Gaelic Award, The Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Award and The Janet Paisley Services to Scots Award, sponsored by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Traditional Hall of Fame, sponsored by Feisean nan Gaidheal.

A raft of industry awards are also up for grabs which recognise individuals and organisations which support the creative pipeline of the sector. These include categories to honour graphic designers, video producers, stage technicians and others.

The ceremony is set to celebrate and showcase Scotland’s flourishing traditional music scene in style, with a host of incredible performances on the night from legendary Skye folk-fusion group Peatbog Faeries, acclaimed Gaelic songstress Joy Dunlop and her band, and Celtic party-starters Mànran. Fresh from her Young Traditional Musician of the Year win, the Amy Laurenson Trio will also take to the Caird Hall stage, as well as the inimitable fiddle genius Duncan Chisholm.

Photo: Last year’s03 awards

Multi-award-winning Scottish folk singer, songwriter and storyteller Karine Polwart and pianist and composer Dave Milligan will also perform over the course of the evening, while the next generation will showcase their talents when SC&T Youth, an organisation providing exciting and inclusive Scottish traditional music opportunities for young people in the North East of Scotland, step up to play. The evening will also include a fitting musical tribute to the cherished radio host and advocate for traditional music, Robbie Shepherd who presented BBC Radio Scotland’s Take the Floor for 35 years.

Scotland’s traditional culture, music and arts organisation Hands Up For Trad organise the annual event. Organiser Simon Thoumire said: “It is with great excitement that we open up the nominations for this year’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards. We can’t wait to see all the nominees who represent the many different facets of our fantastic traditional music scene here in Scotland, from venues and clubs to tutors, events, artists and more.

“We hope everyone takes this chance to shine a light on people making waves in the scene – you have just under two weeks to get your nominations in, and voting will commence in November. We can’t wait to welcome all of our nominees to our milestone 21st celebrations in Dundee’s stunning Caird Hall this December, to mark the successes of the past years as well as the rising stars of today with some outstanding performances and award presentations.”

Margaret Cameron, Director of Content at MG ALBA said: “The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards is renowned for recognising and celebrating the excellence within Scotland’s thriving traditional music scene. It’s always encouraging to see so many talented individuals being nominated for these prestigious awards and we look forward to seeing who makes the list this year. MG ALBA is extremely proud to be the headline sponsor of this much-loved event, and we cannot wait to attend to find out who will be picking up a coveted award in Dundee’s Caird Hall this December.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland, said: “Scotland’s traditional music continues to thrive because our heritage, which draws from rich indigenous languages, is passed on from generation to generation. That’s why Creative Scotland is particularly proud to sponsor the Janet Paisley Services to Scots Language Award and, through the Youth Music Initiative, the Music Tutor of the Year Award. This is the music that pulses through Scotland’s lifeblood, from community halls to international stages. As the nominations are unveiled for this year’s awards, it’s time to cast your vote for the music that matters to you.”

This year’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards are taking place with thanks to funding from The Northwood Trust and Dundee City Council.

The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards will take place at the Caird Hall, Dundee on Saturday 2nd December. Nominations close on Sunday 15th October 2023 and tickets for the event are on sale now.

To nominate someone for an MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Award, visit:

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *