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General News 26 March 2024

Internationally Acclaimed Artists Join Kelpies 10th Anniversary Celebrations

The creator and sculptor of the iconic Kelpies at The Helix, one of Scotland’s top visitor attractions, Andy Scott, has returned to Scotland from his home in Los Angeles, California, in advance of the tenth anniversary celebrations of the world-renowned equine structures, as the latest star to perform at Kelpies 10 on 27 April 2024, is announced.

Internationally acclaimed musician from Glasgow, Rebecca Vasmant, will join an impressive line-up of acts taking part in the special event to celebrate the tenth anniversary, organised by Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals. Set to be an incredible celebration of Falkirk’s heritage, the Kelpies 10 event will mark ten years since the launch of the Kelpies in 2014, which stand at 100ft tall and weigh more than 300 tonnes each, situated between Falkirk and Grangemouth.

The announcement was made at the Kelpies today in the presence of sculptor Andy Scott at an equine gathering of Clydesdale horses, celebrating the breed’s significant contribution to Scotland’s agricultural and industrial heritage and the inspiration behind Andy’s creation. The Kelpies were modelled on two Clydesdale horses, Duke and Baron, and mark the huge contribution the horses made to industries within Falkirk. 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 only 500-900 Clydesdales left in Scotland, the Kelpies provide a lasting legacy to the Clydesdales’ tremendous contribution to Scottish working life.

The ‘Rebecca Vasmant Ensemble’ will be part of the very first evening concert to take place on the site at Kelpies 10, headlined by up and coming Scottish singer-songwriter Callum Beattie and the world’s most famous bagpipe band, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who will be performing a set of their groundbreaking ‘Bagrock’, a fusion of traditional Scottish music and rock/pop anthems.

Rebecca’s 2023 sold out album ‘With Love, From Glasgow’ received international acclaim and accolades including Album of the Week from Jazz FM, BBC Radio 6, Worldwide FM and reached the top ten position in the International Jazz Album Charts. Nominated for Scottish Album of the Year award in 2023, the album tells a love story to Scotland. Rebecca, who won ‘Best Electronic Music’ at the Scottish Music Awards 2023, will be joined by an eight piece ensemble including world class Scottish musicians from the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and will be playing new album tracks as part of her set.

New music label The Bothy Society will provide a warm up DJ set at 6pm. Working with some of the best musicians in Scotland and launched in 2023, the label represents artists spanning Scottish traditional and folk music including Findlay Napier, HEISK, Evie Waddell and Man of the Minch.

The evening concert will follow a full day of free events suitable for all the family to enjoy from 10am. Visitors can expect 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 will demonstrate traditional skills, and a Unicorn Dance Party. Local community groups, such as Sing Forth Choir and pipe bands, will provide additional entertainment and the day will culminate in a huge family ceilidh under The Kelpies, with chart-topping ceilidh band, Whisky Kiss, complete with Oscar winning piper.

Gates open at 5pm for the evening event, which will be ticketed. After a screening of Walid Salhab’s ‘The Kelpies’ and a short anniversary film, the live music will kick off from 7pm, featuring Rebecca Vasmant Ensemble, a set from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and a fire show from Pyroceltica. The evening will culminate in a 60-minute set from the fast-rising Scottish star, Callum Beattie.

Scottish Canals commissioned Andy Scott to create The Kelpies, where they now stand in the Helix Park, on the canal link between the Forth & Clyde Canal and the River Carron. Since their launch, Helix Park has welcomed over seven million visitors from all over the world; The Kelpies play a huge role in contributing to a £85 million tourism spend in the Falkirk region annually.

Rebecca Vasmant said: “I’m delighted to be taking part in the Kelpies 10 event, celebrating these iconic sculptures which have come to represent all that is great about Scotland. We are delighted to be playing this special set with some brand new music from our forthcoming album, telling stories of connection to nature, being one with the planet, using moments of reflection as well as movement with dance.”

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 event is a great way of celebrating their presence and ensuring 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.

“We look forward to celebrating 10 years of The Kelpies, a true celebration of collaborative working. Our magnificent Kelpies will be the big attraction on Saturday, 27 April, with events going on throughout the day for all ages to enjoy. Please join us in celebrating our remarkable structures as we look forward to the next 10 years as we continue to make better lives by water.”

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. 

To find out more about the Kelpies 10 event and to book tickets for the evening event, please head here.

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