Scotland’s national music prize, the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, today announces Stirling as the host city for its 2022 ceremony. Produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) and taking place at Stirling’s Albert Halls on Thursday 20th October, The SAY Award will welcome artists, industry professionals, press and music fans to the city for the most exciting night in Scotland’s musical calendar. The ceremony will mark the culmination of a four-month campaign celebrating Scottish music and the cultural impact of outstanding Scottish albums, with The SAY Award winner receiving a £20,000 first prize and walking away with the coveted title of Scottish Album of the Year.
To unveil Stirling as the new location for The SAY Award ceremony, an eye-catching projection was displayed onto one of the city’s most renowned landmarks, The National Wallace Monument. The location of The SAY Award Ceremony was unveiled with the lyrics of the iconic Scottish ballad ‘Caledonia’ by singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean, OBE who lived nearby in Dunblane for a period of time as a child and still feels a close connection with Stirling. Featuring the famous chorus “Let me tell you that I love you. That I think about you all the time”, the projection was displayed on the Monument overlooking the city and was visible for miles. Music fans across the country can watch the stunning ode to Scotland and its vibrant music industry here.
Built in the Victorian era and located in the centre of the city, the impressive Albert Halls venue has hosted a variety of shows since opening over 100 years ago. Following The SAY Award’s landmark 10th birthday celebration last year, music fans will once again have the chance to attend the ceremony when it makes its Stirling debut on Thursday 20th October. To purchase pre-sale tickets, book here.
A young city with ancient roots, Stirling has a thriving music scene with venues such as the Tolbooth and the Albert Halls delivering a regular programme of events, while the City Park hosts large-scale events, including this summer’s Under Canvas Big Top shows with Texas, Skippinish and Eddi Reader. It’s also the stage for boutique outdoor music events like Shapes at The Old Town Jail and Albert Smalls, along with world-class music festivals like Doune The Rabbit Hole and Callander Jazz and Blues Festival. Stirling Council is also focused on cultivating the growing talent nestled within its area. During the pandemic, with venues forced to temporarily close, the Council and cultural partners nurtured and supported artists in innovative ways. In 2021, the team at the Tolbooth venue, with the support of Creative Scotland, launched Generation Tolbooth Records - a label run by young people to promote the talented youth music scene in the city. For more on these events and on Generation Tolbooth, see www.stirlingevents.org.
The move to Stirling at the heart of Scotland is a pivotal moment for The SAY Award following the celebration of its 10th year in 2021. Steeped in Scottish history, the city of Stirling is home to some of the world's most renowned attractions, including Stirling Castle and The National Wallace Monument, while the awe-inspiring scenery of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is right on the city’s doorstep. In addition, Stirling is bursting with creativity, diversity and innovation and is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a city this year.
Robert Kilpatrick, Creative Director of the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) / The SAY Award, said: “Following three fantastic years in Edinburgh, we’re delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with Stirling as we get set to host our 2022 ceremony in the much-loved Albert Halls. Across our 4-month campaign, we will work with Stirling and our SAY Award partners to celebrate the strength and diversity of Scotland’s musical landscape, culminating in the most exciting night in Scotland’s musical calendar. As we now enter a post-pandemic landscape, a sharp focus on cultural recovery and growth is required. The SAY Award will work to bring a renewed sense of community, foster civic pride and drive national wellbeing through a strategic and authentic focus on recognising both the power and value of music in Scotland.”
Cllr Gerry McGarvey, Convener of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, said: “Hosting the Scottish Album of the Year Award is absolutely fantastic news for Stirling and reaffirms the area’s reputation as a top events location. Stirling sits in the heart of Scotland and beats to the rhythm of a dynamic and diverse music scene, so the city is the perfect stage for this special celebration of Scottish music in the historic Albert Halls. Projecting the cherished lyrics of Dougie MacLean onto the iconic Wallace Monument is a fitting way to mark this exciting announcement, showcasing Stirling’s incredible history and creative spirit to people across the country. It’s also a powerful statement that Stirling is bouncing back following the challenges of the pandemic with the return of a wide range of major events and festivals and is ready to welcome people from across the world.”
Artists, music fans and labels can look forward to eligible album submissions for The SAY Award 2022 opening on Friday 1st July. From classical, electronic, hip-hop, jazz, pop, rock and trad, The SAY Award album submissions reflect the ever-changing and diversified Scottish music scene, demonstrating the strength and cultural impact of the country’s musical output. Once all eligible albums have been collated, 100 impartial ‘Nominators’, chosen from sectors including journalism, music retail and music venues across Scotland, nominate and rank their five favourite albums in order of preference. The SMIA assigns a score to each title in a Nominator’s Top 5, before announcing the 20 highest scoring albums as The SAY Award Longlist.
The Longlist will then be whittled down to a Shortlist of 10 albums, one of which will be chosen by music fans via a 72-hour online public vote. The remaining nine albums will be chosen by The SAY Award judging panel, who will then reconvene at the ceremony to decide on 2022’s winner.
This year will also see the return of the Modern Scottish Classic Award and The Sound of Young Scotland Award, both of which were introduced last year. Recognising an outstanding album from Scotland’s past that still inspires today, the artists making up 2022’s SAY Award Longlist will be tasked with choosing the winner of the Modern Scottish Classic Award, which last year was won by Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’. To support and drive Scottish music of the future, The Sound of Young Scotland Award also offers a young and emerging Scottish artist the chance to record their debut album. Having been won last year by Edinburgh-based LVRA, 2022’s winner will be chosen by a panel of previous SAY Award Nominees, and further details will be published in due course.
Now in its eleventh year, previous winners of The SAY Award include Mogwai ‘As The Love Continues’ (2021), Nova ‘Re-Up’ (2020), Auntie Flo ‘Radio Highlife’ (2019), Young Fathers ‘Cocoa Sugar’ (2018), Sacred Paws ‘Strike A Match’ (2017), Anna Meredith ‘Varmints’ (2016), Kathryn Joseph ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’ (2015), Young Fathers ‘Tape Two’ (2014), RM Hubbert ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ (2013) and the inaugural winner Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ (2012).