Penticton group showcasing Scottish culture throughout the Okanagan with a new seven part video series

Series spotlights the Scottish

The Penticton Scottish Festival Society is finding a way to showcase and celebrate Scottish culture throughout the Okanagan, premiering a new television and digital video series.

Experience The Arts – Exploring Scottish Culture in the Okanagan, will start broadcasting on the Shaw Spotlight Community Television on Jan. 18 through March 2021 with weekly episodes.

Wayne McDougall, vice-president for the Penticton Scottish Festival Society said their organization came up with the idea after finding themselves with grant money to use.

“As you can imagine, pretty much everything shut down for 2020 and we thought, ‘Well we have grant money available should we return it? What should we do, what are our options? And they said ‘Well can you make some sort of program video?’”

So the group put their heads together and decided to try to partner with Shaw Spotlight, the local community access channel.

Thanks to McDougall’s 40 years of video production experience as a local television producer at Shaw, he was able to pitch and get the new video series running.

“When it first started we thought it might be one show, an hour, maybe half an hour and then boom! We started exploring and meeting all these people who are passionate about these stories they want to share,” McDougall added.

“You get to meet the people that are participating instead of just seeing their art, meeting the people who are behind their art, why they're doing what they're doing.”

And since the Penticton Scottish Festival Society received a $6,000 grant from the Government of British Columbia Community Gaming Branch, the money will be used to support the performing arts groups who participate.

“The money actually, because there's no cost to utilizing the services of the community channel and I’m a volunteer, we can utilize the grants money to give an honorarium to the local groups that are all participating,” McDougall added.

“They would normally do dance concerts and all these kinds of things to raise money and of course, they can't do that so they can dance in front of the camera, why not.”

The series is also co-produced by Kim Smith-Jones, an accomplished bagpiper, Band Manager and instructor of the Okanagan Youth Pipe Band and Treasurer of the Penticton Scottish Festival Society.

Each episode will be showcasing a number of stories and segments reflecting the culture that people experience at the Penticton Scottish Festival including: Highland, Scottish Country and Irish dancing, youth and adult pipe bands, Scottish food demonstrations, Scotch tasting workshop, how bagpipes and tartan kilts are made, how and why Scots celebrate the poetry of Robert Burns and more.

“I think when people ask around, people will say 'Oh yeah my grandfather was Scottish,' or there's a Celtic background connected to many people...I mean most people these days have a diverse ethnicity and should be proud of whatever their ethnicity is so this is a chance to look inside what is Scottish culture.”

The series dives into does Scottish culture mean for dress, for sports, for music and how does that play out in Canada centuries later?

“Sometimes people are doing it to share multi-generations, the dad and grandparents were pipers and the kids are now in the band,” McDougall said.

“There's a lot of positive things going on behind the scenes, these days we can't get together but we can share the story through other media.”

The seven one-hour videos are being produced for broadcast on Shaw Spotlight Okanagan Channel 11, and available online on the Shaw Spotlight YouTube channel beginning Jan. 18.

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