STIRLING is to host the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Awards ceremony later this year, it has been confirmed.

Produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), the event takes place at Stirling’s Albert Halls on Thursday, October 20.

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 launch the news, an eye-catching projection was displayed on The National Wallace Monument, featuring the lyrics of the iconic Scottish ballad Caledonia by singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean.

The words from the famous chorus: “Let me tell you that I love you. That I think about you all the time” were emblazoned across the face of the monument and was visible for miles.

Robert Kilpatrick, creative director of 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 McLean 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, July 1.

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.

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.

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