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Packed, positive and proud ... on the road with Yestival

IT was a unique backdrop for a unique event.

More than 450 people crammed into Govanhill Baths - a former Edwardian bathhouse on Glasgow's south side - for an event celebrating Scotland's creative talent.

Yestival, organised by the pro-independence group National Collective, and just days into its tour of the country, drew hundreds with its mix of politics, poetry and spoken word.

Zara Kitson, a National Collective member, said: "We heard from a lot of people that they wanted us to take our message out across Scotland.

"We have an eclectic mix of folk all supporting our message of wanting a positive future, an alternative future, for our country.

"National Collective has tried to reach every nook and cranny of Scotland so that no one misses out - but it's quite hard as, even though we're a small country, we have a lot of nooks and crannies."

National Collective, one of the most notable movements of the independence debate, is a group artists, writers, and musicians.

Followers of the Collective called for a summer tour - and Yestival was born.

Entirely a grassroots campaign, it has been publicised almost wholly online and by word of mouth with organisers hoping Yes supporters will bring along undecideds and No voters.

The national tour will visit every city in Scotland and travel through the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland, the North-East and the central belt.

Yes supporters are also invited to run their own grass-roots events throughout July.

Actor Elaine C Smith spoke in Haddington while the event has garnered support from writers Alan Bissett and David Greig.

However, Kitson is keen to emphasise that the festival is not about celebrities but about people from all walks of life coming together to forge a positive future.

Yesterday in Glasgow Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the local MSP, spoke at the baths event.

She was followed by a video of Bissett, who is taking part in Yestival events in person later in the tour.

Jenny Lindsay, a poet and event promoter, said: "Today has been a great success. We wanted this to be a celebration of the Yes movement but also of Govanhill and I think we have succeeded in that.

"The atmosphere all day has been buzzing and we have had to bring out extra seats for people. It's absolutely packed and positive."

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