The 49th Dunedin Highland Games & Festival Presents Searson, My Three Kilts and a Legacy of Support For Scottish Culture

The 49th annual Dunedin Highland Games & Festival will be held this Saturday at Highlander Park in Dunedin, Florida.  In addition to competitive Highland Games, information booths set up by Clan organisations and a sheep herding exhibition, there will also be a blockbuster line-up of entertainment. Press reports have MacPhearson’s Rant, Mighty Fine Peppers, My Three Kilts, Searson and Off Kilter performing on the festival Grounds. In 2015 for the first time the Dunedin Tide Festival of Piping will be held in conjunction with the games

Searson, comprised of sisters Erin and Colleen Searson, are originally from the Ottawa Valley in Ontario. The sisters began to study music at a very young age, performing locally and competing at Step Dance & Fiddle Contests. Erin has been classically trained in piano at the Royal Conservatory of music and Colleen has been studying violin and fiddle methods from all styles around the world since age 9. Both sisters began step dance lessons at an early age and are thus accomplished performers and musicians.

My three Kilts describe themselves on their web page as “..ain’t your grandpa’s Celtic music”. Combining traditional Celtic influences and instrumentation with punk rock influences, ideals and attitude, My Three Kilts play a unique brand of Celtic/Pub/Punk. The band are in the process of releasing their new album “Honest, True, Black & Blue” and the band recently appeared with Transceltic favourites, Albannach, at Tir na Nog in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Scottish Piping tradition runs deep in this small Florida town of 35,000.  Dunedin is  renowned for its dedication to Piping with the city supporting a Piping band at the primary, middle and high school levels; a phenomenal achievement which has garnered international attention. According to the Dunedin Highland Games & Festival was established in 1965 as a way to raise funds to support the Scottish bands of Dunedin, including the City of Dunedin Pipe Band, the Dunedin High School Scottish Highlanders Band and the Dunedin Highland Middle School Band. 

In the same article the roots of this festival in promoting the Pipes and the support the Festival gives to the Piping programs was put forward in an interview with David Bruce Mason, Director of Bands at Dunedin’s Middle School: “ The Dunedin Highland Games, in large part, fund our band program. From kilts to bagpipes, drum heads, travel, registration fees, music, flags and dancers’ outfits – the highland games covers the lion’s share of the cost. It would not be possible to offer the program(s) we have without the support of the Dunedin Highland Games. Our pipe band, which competes at all of the Highland Games, is instructed by Mr. Iain Donaldson and Mr. Gary Smith. Mr. Donaldson is the Scottish piping instructor for Dunedin Highland Middle School, Dunedin High School and the three bands for adults called ‘The City Bands.’ Mr. Smith does the same thing with Scottish drumming. Thousands of pipers, drummers and highland dancers have gone through our program over the past five decades. We are presently expanding it into our elementary schools as well. Dunedin’s Scottish heritage continues to be a source of pride for our community.”


  • 49th Annual Dunedin Highland Games

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