Next year, Scotland's world famous festivals will be joined by another major event, an inspiring and ambitious annual festival of the arts organised by Age Scotland and Creative Scotland for, by, with and about older people.
The new festival, based loosely on the Welsh Gwanwyn and Irish Bealtaine festivals, will be launched specifically to appeal to the older, culture-loving section of Scottish society and will focus in particular on arts and cultural events for those in residential care homes.
It forms part of a drive by Creative Scotland to encourage those who have not engaged with the arts to connect with cultural events and comes on the back of the organisation's 2008 "Taking Part" study, which found that older people are less likely than many other groups to take part in the arts.
The concept emerged from a meeting at Perth Concert Hall in March, organised with Creative Scotland and the National Forum on Ageing Futures and attended by over 200 arts participants aged 50 and over, to discuss the benefits of creativity for the older population.
Age Scotland and Creative Scotland are in the process of recruiting an artistic director to take the festival, funded to the tune of £150,000 by the charitable Baring Foundation and as yet unnamed, forward.
The new festival's artistic director will be tasked with increasing opportunities for involvement by older people in high quality arts programmes as artists and performers, participants and consumers whilst simultaneously ensuring that content addresses issues such as ageism and actively promotes positive representations of those in later life.
An equalities emphasis is essential and the festival will target different groups of people, including the ageing Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, disabled people and those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
The first festival is expected to take place in October 2012, and will last a month.
Age Scotland spokesman Lindsay Scott said: "We are extremely excited about this project and we want to ensure that the festival will have a distinctly contemporary Scottish and international flavour. We envisage it as a moveable feast, changing venues from year to year, with the main events taking place in Pitlochry for example one year and the next in Dumfries."
Maggie Maxwell, development officer for Creative Scotland, said: "It's a very exciting proposition, a national arts festival focussing on those in later life. Like many countries, Scotland has an ageing population, and although this festival will principally address ageing and the arts, we are keen to stress it is an inter-generational event, after all people don't lose their interest is new things just because they are getting older."