The Highlands & Islands arts scene has been thriving for decades, and with that comes countless stories about this unique and magical part of the world.

It’s not everywhere that you hear of audience members arriving to a gig by yacht, have a packed out event during a howling storm, hear stories about the Naked Rambler or manage to baffle Bill Bailey.

In this 7 minute mini documentary from The Touring Network, we hear from venues, event organisers and artists on their own experiences of arts in the Highlands & Islands. It really embraces the passion of the people, the stunning landscape and the lifestyle and community that bring artists from all over the country to perform year after year.

Video credit: Beth Chalmers and Jassy Earl

Here is just one quote from the documentary that really sum up the scene:

I think there’s a couple of very special things; we’ve got this network of venues in the middle of nowhere, and suddenly, audiences arrive. This building is surrounded by fields. There are some well known artists who’ve played here often that get lost trying to get here, even some that live quite near.

And it’s amazing the way people just arrive. You can have 100 people in this room from all over the Black Isle. But the other thing is it’s wonderful how the artists just love it. They can play Queens Hall, they can play Royal Concert Hall, they can play big venues right across the UK, but they seem to love coming to village halls where they can actually look into people’s eyes, they can relate to them on a one to one basis. They get a meal before the gig, someone takes them home back to their house where they sleep over, no hassle, they get looked after and the artists just love it.

Bill Alexander / Resolis, Black Isle

Like many arts and music scenes across the UK, this rural arts scene is also under threat. Here is a message from The Touring Network asking for donations to Keep Rural Arts Live. To donate, please click here.