There is more to be experienced in Scotland than just the natural beauty of its hills, vales and lochs. No country, after all, is complete without its people. And few people live life larger and more colourfully than merry old Scotsmen. When you live in a place as breathtakingly beautiful as Largs, you want to celebrate life as often as you can. No wonder, then, that Largs has as many as three annual festivals of its very own.
In the first weekend of June every year, for example, Largs lives up to the sound of the blues. The Largs Jazz Festival is the first of the year (of their local calendar, at least), in which various bands from all over the world flock to participate. Unfortunately, the hugely popular event has been kept in abeyance for the last two years, but is hoped that it will take off in all its golden glory again in 2010.
In July Largs celebrates the Brisbane Queen Festival. It began as the Carnival Queen festival in 1934, but was renamed in 1936 to commemorate Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, born in Largs, who went on to become the 6th Governor of New South Wales, and after whom the town of Brisbane in Australia is named. Ena Baird was crowned the first Brisbane Queen, and the tradition has continued since then. Each year, the Brisbane Queen is chosen from among the local schools, and is presented the Queen’s scepter and full royal regalia (not a replica- they are actually presented to Largs by the Government of Queensland) and is afforded the treatment of royalty for the day.
Then comes the week long Largs Viking Festival, which takes place every August/September to commemorate the 1263 Battle of Largs when the Vikings were defeated for the final time by the Scotsmen. A Viking Village is reconstructed for the festival, a Viking parade, a re-enactment of the battle culminating in the ceremonial burning of a Viking longship, and finally ending with a spectacular fireworks show from the Pencil Monument.
Photography by Duncan Holmes