The Harbour Festival of Light in Irvine has been named the best Scottish festival at the inaugural E Awards in Glasgow.

Put on by the Scottish Maritime Museum, Illumination: Harbour Festival of Light, was recognised for Overall Scottish Event/Festival Excellence 2017 at the finale of the annual events expo EventIt at the SEC earlier this month. The museum was also named winners of the Creative Event/Festival Excellence 2017 category.

Judith Wilson, EventIt’s Show Director, said: “After much deliberation among the judges, Irvine’s Harbour Festival of Light was clearly a very imaginative, multi-faceted festival which from a standing start generated significant local interest with its flair for creativity and audience engagement.”

The four-day festival began on St Andrew’s Day last November and drew inspiration from Scottish artist George Wyllie’s iconic 1980s life-sized Paper Boat, which he sailed up the Hudson River in New York. Producers in Irvine took rekindled that inspiration in an interactive light display, using 200 little origami paper boats, made from recyclable polypropylene, tethered together by wires and floated out into Irvine Harbour.

David Mann, Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, says: “We are thrilled to have been recognised by the national Eventit awards particularly given this was our first major festival and we were up against high-profile, established national events.

“We created something very special with illumination with the passion and enthusiasm of Fiona Carmichael, our curator of art, and staff at the museum along with our great funders, sponsors, partners, local businesses, community groups and, of course, the thousands of visitors who came out to enjoy the spectacular.”

Perth-based SpeakEasy Productions were the other big winner on the night, scooping awards in two categories and nominated in another.

The company won the Conference/Association Event Excellence 2017 award for its organisation of Venturefest Scotland and also Event Technology Excellence 2017 for Food Standards Scotland at the Royal Highland Show. They were shortlisted in the Marketing & Digital Event/Festival Excellence 2017 category.

Award winners:

Conference/Association Event Excellence 2017
Winner – Speakeasy Productions Ltd, Venturefest Scotland

Event Supplier Excellence 2017
Winner –  Appetite Direct, Edinburgh International Festival Launch

Student Event/Festival Excellence 2017
Winner – Aberdeen Student Festival, Robert Gordon University

Creative Event/Festival Excellence 2017
Winner – Scottish Maritime Museum, Illumination: Harbour Festival of Light

Outdoor Event/Festival Excellence 2017
Winner – Homeless World Cup, Glasgow 2016

Event Technology Excellence 2017
Winner – Speakeasy Productions Ltd, Food Standards Scotland, Royal Highland Show

Marketing & Digital Event/Festival Excellence 2017
Winner – Aberdeen Festivals/Visit Aberdeenshire

Scottish Event Space or Venue Excellence 2017
Winner – Merchant Square, Glasgow

Sustainable Event/Festival Excellence 2017
Winner – Edinburgh International Film Festival

Overall Scottish Event/Festival Excellence 2017
Scottish Maritime Museum, Illumination: Harbour Festival of Light