The Saltire Festival

Samantha Grant | Monday 13th November 2017 7:59am

We can’t wait for the 2017 Saltire Festival to kick-off on St Andrew Day.  A fun packed programme of events which will appeal to all ages and interests will run from 30 November through to 3rd December.  The festival will showcase lots of brilliant Scottish talent, with some well-known faces making an appearance alongside some new ones too.  

And what better place to kick-off a festival dedicated to Scotland’s national flag, on Scotland’s national day?  You may not know this, but East Lothian is considered to be the birthplace of the Scottish flag.    

On a raiding mission in the Northumbrian territory of Lothian in 832AD, an army of Picts and Scots led by Angus mac Fergus and Eochaidh, grandfather of Kenneth mac Alpin came face to face with a formidable army of Angles and Saxons near the East Lothian village of Athelstaneford.  Fearing the outcome Angus prayed, and as he did the cross of St Andrew appeared in the clouds. Angus vowed that if he won the battle St Andrew would become the country’s patron saint.  The Picts and Scots won that day, and true to his word Angus adopted St Andrew as Scotland’s patron saint.  To commemorate his victory in battle St Andrew’s cross, against a sky blue backdrop was adopted as the country’s flag.

So what's on?

You can check out the festival’s programme of events and snap up tickets here, but first let’s take a quick look at some of our hot picks for 2017.  


The festival launches with the St. Andrew’s Day Trad Fest on 30th November at the National Museum of Flight.  Breabach, Barluath & East Lothian Massed Pipes & Drums will be performing under the amazing backdrop of Concorde! A chance for you to get up close and personal with this magnificent supersonic piece of history.  Skerryvore are a multi-award winning Scottish folk-rock band.  Their wonderful blend of toe-tapping, traditional and modern music has earned them an army of fans.  You can catch Skerryvore in ‘The Saltire Live’ at the Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh on Friday 1st December.  

The Chalmers Memorial Church, Port Seton will host ‘The Saltire Candlelight Concert’ on Friday 1st December.  The concert will feature music from the talented Rura and haunting Gaelic songs from Joy Dunlop.

Food & Drink

With Scottish gin now earning glowing accolades Worldwide, what could be more apt than a ‘Gin Dinner’?

Vivienne Muir, CEO of NB Gin will host an evening of Scottish gin appreciation and anecdotes on Friday 1st December at the Macdonald Marine Hotel, North Berwick.  The highlight of the evening will be a mouth-watering 5 course dinner served with a selection of carefully chosen Scottish gins.       


Fringe by the Sea and Edinburgh Festival Fringe favourite, Craig Hill returns to East Lothian with his acerbic wit, and this time he’s brought some pals along too.

You can catch Craig and Friends for an evening of side-splitting comedy at the Maitlandfield House Hotel, Haddington.  And a wee tip from us if you do go – DON’T sit near the front.  You’ve been warned!

Arts & Crafts

The Saltire Festival isn’t all about eating, drinking and making merry.  There will also be a strong arts and crafts element too.  On Saturday 2nd December and Sunday 3rd December a variety of arts and crafts workshops will take place at The Brunton, Musselburgh (Saturday) and John Gray Centre, Haddington (Sunday).  

Pop along and try your hand at glass painting, felt working, Celtic metalwork and soap carving.  These workshops are suitable for adults and children, so are a great way to enjoy some family fun together. 

Sadly, we can’t cover all of the wonderful events taking place at this year’s Saltire Festival so make sure you check out the full programme of events, and come celebrate a fun packed St Andrew’s Day with us in East Lothian – home of the Scottish saltire.