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General News 27 April 2024

First Ever Onsite Live Concert Takes Place to Mark The Kelpies 10th Anniversary

The first ever onsite live concert took place at one of Scotland’s top visitor attractions, The Helix, Home of The Kelpies, tonight (27 April 2024), as part of a special one-of-a-kind event to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the world-renowned equine structures.

Over 10,000 visitors gathered at the Kelpies 10 event, organised by Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals, an all day and evening celebration of the iconic sculptures and Falkirk’s heritage. The event marked ten years since these immense sculptures, which stand at 100ft tall and weigh more than 300 tonnes each, were unveiled in 2014 at The Helix Park, situated between Falkirk and Grangemouth.

Since the launch of the Kelpies, commissioned by Scottish Canals and designed by Andy Scott, Helix Park has welcomed over seven million visitors from all over the world. Since 2013 it is estimated that these visitors to the Kelpies have helped to generate an additional £67 million in ‘visitor spend’ in the area.

Clydesdale horses, the inspiration behind the Kelpies, were an integral part of the celebrations during Kelpies 10, marking the breed’s significant contribution to Scotland’s agricultural and industrial heritage. They were the power behind numerous local industries, agriculture and day-to-day transport. With the breed now listed as vulnerable by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, and less than 900 Clydesdales left in Scotland, the Kelpies provide a lasting legacy to their tremendous contribution to Scottish working life.

The Kelpies 10 celebrations began at 10am with a host of free events suitable for all the family to enjoy and was followed by the very first evening concert to take place on the site, headlined by up and coming Scottish singer-songwriter Callum Beattie, internationally acclaimed musician, DJ and producer Rebecca Vasmant with her ‘Rebecca Vasmant Ensemble’, and the world’s most famous bagpipe band, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who performed a set of their groundbreaking ‘Bagrock’, a fusion of traditional Scottish Music and rock/pop anthems.

The stage was positioned in front of the multi-coloured illuminated Kelpies, creating an incredible backdrop for the performers, with the line up also including new music label The Bothy Society who provided a warm up DJ set at 6pm, showcasing its many artists spanning Scottish traditional and folk music including Findlay Napier, HEISK, Evie Waddell and Man of Minch. Evening celebrations also

included a screening of Walid Salhab’s ‘The Kelpies,’ a short anniversary film and a fire show from Pyroceltica.

During the day celebrations, visitors were able to enjoy street theatre, circus performers, artists, face painting, community stalls, a local producers’ market, Folk tales and songs from renowned Scottish storyteller James MacDonald Reid, a Clydesdale demo ring where the horses were able to demonstrate traditional skills and a Unicorn Dance Party. Local community groups, such as Sing Forth Choir and pipe bands, also provided additional entertainment and the day events culminated in a huge family ceilidh under The Kelpies, with chart-topping ceilidh band Whisky Kiss, complete with the band’s `Oscar- winning piper’, Ciaren Ross.

Falkirk Council Leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “Since their original construction, The Kelpies have brought millions of visitors from Scotland, the UK and across the globe to witness these iconic structures that feature so prominently on our local landscape. The Kelpies 10 event has been a great way to celebrate their presence and ensure the interest that they generate continues for decades to come.”

Scottish Canals’ Chief Executive Officer John Paterson said: “Scottish Canals had a vision to create a piece of art at the eastern gateway to Scotland’s historic Forth & Clyde Canal.

“The Kelpies pay homage to the working horses of Scotland which used to pull barges along Scotland’s canals and worked in fields in the area where they now stand. Now almost a decade on and these magnificent works of art are global waterways icons attracting thousands of visitors to Scotland each year.

“The Kelpies 10 event has been a fantastic celebration of ten years of the magnificent Kelpies, and we have been delighted that so many visitors have been able to enjoy the numerous family friendly events throughout the day, culminating in the first ever live concert at the Kelpies this evening, with some really impressive performances. We are looking forward to the next 10 years as we continue to make better lives by the water.”

The concert at The Helix was supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said: “EventScotland was delighted to support the Kelpies 10 celebrations through our National Events Programme.

“Events play an important role in our communities, giving us all the chance to come together and share memorable experiences. The first ever onsite live concert at the Helix certainly delivered this for all those there to celebrate these world-renowned equine structures, reinforcing Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for events.”

The Helix, originally created as a space for the communities in the Falkirk area to come together, was awarded five-star visitor attraction status by Visit Scotland and won the ‘Best Visitor Attraction Experience’ at the 2023 Visit Scotland National Thistle Awards. Helix Park, which has a Green Tourism Gold award, is free for visitors, and offers significant amounts of green space and a wealth of things to do, including 27km of traffic free, wheelchair friendly, paths for walking, running, or cycling, an adventure zone playpark, splash play area and sensory play area. E-bikes are also available for hire on site. After exploring the Park, visitors can warm up in the Visitor Centre and take time to explore the gift shop.

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