Skerryvore returns to Dunedin for the Haggis Winter MusicFest 2022, running Jan. 20-22. 

Skerryvore to play Haggis Winter MusicFest

DUNEDIN — The Scottish American Society of Dunedin will once again kick off the new year with a weekend-long celebration of Celtic music. Dunedin Live: Haggis Winter MusicFest 2022 will run Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 20-22, and will showcase the return of Scottish band Skerryvore to Dunedin’s Scottish Cultural Center.

This weekend of Celtic music, dance and Scotch whisky will be hosted by The Scottish American Society of Dunedin and produced by Mad Gael Productions. It will feature two Haggis Celtic Concerts and a whisky tasting tour of Scotland set to music. By using mainly indoor spaces, event organizers have developed a festival plan that takes advantage of the beautiful Florida weather but is not dependent on it.

The Haggis Winter MusicFest will get underway Thursday, Jan. 20, with a Haggis Celtic Concert starting at 7:30 p.m. This concert will focus on Skerryvore’s beginnings as a ceilidh band and how the band has changed over time.

The event will continue with the Scotch Whisky Tour on Friday, Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m. This very unique Scotch tasting and musical tour of Scotland will be hosted by Skerryvore and guests.

Then, on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m., Skerryvore will again perform — this time focusing on the band’s latest hits in an intimate version of their stadium stye show.

Skerryvore began as a ceilidh band on the Hebridean island of Tiree, Scotland, and has evolved into a unique fusion of folk, trad, rock and pop. The Gillespie Brothers founded the band, with Daniel on accordion and Martin on pipes. Having grown up on Tiree, they tapped their friends Fraser West (drums) and Alec Dalglish (guitar) to form a new band. Then came Craig Espie (fiddle), Jodie Bremanson (Bass), Alan Scobie (keyboards) and Scott Wood (pipes and whistles).

Their musicianship and the mesmerizing voice of singer Alec Dalglish has made Skerryvore an international sensation. The band has performed in cities such as Beijing, Madrid, Munich, Sydney and New York. The band celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2015 by launching their own 6,000 capacity Decade Festival and a series of successful “Oban Live” events over the next four years. In collaboration with Bruichladdich distillery, they also released a limited edition, 10-year-old, single cask, single malt, Decade whisky. With only 290 bottles produced this has become a collector's item.

Over the past few years, they have explored alternative performance possibilities including live streaming and virtual performances. This included producing a special music video featuring the Oban High School Pipe Band. The band’s single, “Everyday Heroes,” recorded and produced from home in 2020, aided a variety of musicians and reached number one on the Scottish charts while also raising thousands of dollars for front line health care charities. The music, composed by Martin Gillespie, featured Skerryvore and a range of musicians from the Scottish Traditional music.

For more information about the Scottish American Society of Dunedin and Dunedin Live: Haggis Winter MusicFest 2022, visit www.sas-dunedin.org or haggiscelticconcerts.com.

St. Pete Museum of History opens Pier exhibit 

ST. PETERSBURG — Since the early days of trains and steamships to today's Instagram-worthy views, the Pier has been an important focal point of St. Petersburg's downtown. That rich history has been preserved by the St. Petersburg Museum of History and is now on display for pier visitors to enjoy.

The museum recently opened its new exhibit hall. Sponsored by Pilot Bank, “Piers Through the Years” showcases the famous St. Petersburg Pier's growth and change throughout the city’s history.

The exhibit, located between the Sunshine City Gallery and Schrader’s Little Cooperstown Baseball Exhibit, encapsulates 165 years of pier history. The exhibit starts with the early 1889 railroad pier and follows its transformation, up to the most recent 1973 Inverted Pyramid.

Historically, the St. Petersburg Piers have reflected the city’s needs. Throughout nearly two centuries, that included commerce, tourism, recreation and the quest for eternal youth. In the years 1899-1901, mystical waters gave fame to the Fountain of Youth Pier, where visitors would drink from a sulfuric well drilled nearby, then take a stroll down by the water, enjoying their newfound youth.

Later, St. Petersburg’s first municipal pier served as the headquarters for the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, which scheduled the world’s first commercial flight on Jan. 1, 1914 — a historic event that changed the world, and is featured in the Flight One Gallery of the Museum.

The exhibit hall serves as a time capsule for visitors wanting to learn more about the essence of downtown St. Petersburg. Tickets to the museum are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $9 for military/first responders and students. Tickets for children under 6 are free.

For information, visit www.stpetemuseumofhistory.org.

ArtJones Open Studio Tour to celebrate fifth anniversary

GULFPORT — In its first five years, Gulfport fine arts collective ArtJones has become a holiday shopping staple for arts lovers in the region and established itself as a premier artist collective on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The group celebrates its fifth anniversary Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4-5, with its most creatively diverse group of artists to date, a growing emphasis on emerging artists and the group's inaugural ArtJones Scholarship Award recipient, an award designed to welcome underrepresented voices into the arts community. The two-day, self-paced tour features 28 fine artists from across a wide variety of mediums, including painting, glass art, ceramics, woodworking, photography, jewelry and fiber art.

Event hours are Saturday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 5, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

ArtJones announced earlier this fall that glass artist Michelle Ingram is the inaugural recipient of the new scholarship, joining emerging painters Amy Howell, Paula Roy and Deserie Valloreo on this year's tour.

The group has redesigned the Open Studio Tour in 2021, clustering artists to provide visitors fewer stops while seeing more artwork. Each of the 12 studio locations with one exception will host two to four artists, with all safety and social distancing protocols in place. For more information and to download a map for this year's ArtJones Open Studio Tour, visit artjonesstudiotour.com.

ArtJones is an independent artist-run collective. The rotating list of artists is selected by invitation.

Creative Pinellas to receive $500,000 grant

LARGO — Creative Pinellas is one of 66 local arts agencies nationwide to have been selected to receive an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The purpose of the $500,000 grant is to help artists and nonprofit arts organizations recover from the pandemic. Creative Pinellas will use the funds to provide grants directly to eligible artists and arts organizations, to support public participation with individual artists and their work, and to support salaries, stipends to artists, marketing and promotions for arts and cultural organizations.

“This is such great news for the arts community and for Pinellas County,” said Creative Pinellas CEO Barbara St. Clair. “We are honored that we were chosen for the grant and that we will have the opportunity to contribute half a million dollars to the wellbeing of the arts and cultural community. When the NEA announced the grant in July, with a mid-August deadline, we knew we absolutely had to apply, although the deadline was tight. We also decided to apply at the $500,000 level rather than the lower tiers because the needs in Pinellas County are so great. This grant enables us to make a positive difference, and we are looking forward to getting the funds out into the community.”

Based on the application submitted to the NEA, Creative Pinellas plans to create grants for Pinellas County artists ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, and grants for Pinellas County nonprofit arts and cultural organizations ranging from $2,500 to $50,000. Guidelines and other grant materials are being developed now, and Creative Pinellas expects to launch the grant program in early 2022.

This is the second of three installments of the NEA’s American Rescue Plan funding. Last April, the NEA announced that 40 percent of its $135 million in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for regranting through their respective programs. The third installment of ARP funding to arts organizations to support their own operations will be announced in early 2022.

Visit creativepinellas.org/magazine for more information on the NEA grant, as well as other programs and grant opportunities.

Ruth Eckerd Hall nominated for Pollstar Theatre of the Year

CLEARWATER — Industry trade publication Pollstar recently announced the nomination of Ruth Eckerd Hall for Theatre of the Year.

Ruth Eckerd Hall was nominated along with several prestigious venues, including the Beacon Theatre in New York, the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Criteria for the nomination included showcasing superior programming, effective promotion, quality production values and staff, an exemplary experience for fans and artists and consistent box office success.

Nominations for those actively involved with live performance in 2021 were submitted by the Pollstar Awards nominating committee made up of agents, promoters, managers, producers, production professionals, venue representatives, Pollstar reporters and other tour professionals.

“To be nominated again is a tremendous honor for our team, especially in these challenging times. We feel the love from our Tampa Bay community but this is different,” said Ruth Eckerd Hall President and CEO Susan Crockett. “When our industry peers nominate us as best in the nation, it confirms Ruth Eckerd Hall is a leader in driving the highest standards, from booking to load out.”

The Pollstar Awards recognize and honor the most successful artists, executives, venues, events and companies in the global live entertainment industry. The 33rd annual Pollstar Awards will be presented Feb. 8 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

In 2002 and 2008, Ruth Eckerd Hall was nominated by Pollstar for Theatre of the Year. In 2020, Ruth Eckerd Hall was nominated by the Academy of Country Music for Theatre of the Year.

In 2020, Pollstar named Ruth Eckerd Hall the No. 1 venue in Tampa, No. 4 venue in Florida, No. 5 venue in the United States and No. 5 venue in the world of theatre venues with 2,500 seats or less.