Specsavers Scottish Music Awards returns to Barrowlands Ballroom for 2023 with Music royalty The Who

Specsavers Scottish Music Awards has today announced its return to Glasgow’s legendary Barrowland Ballroom for 2023, as well as the first round of music award nominees.

On Saturday 4th November 2023, the flagship fundraiser is set to celebrate its 25th anniversary in aid of music therapy charity Nordoff and Robbins in Scotland.

Award-winning broadcaster and presenter Edith Bowman will host some of the biggest names in Scotland’s music industry, including a special performance from rising Scottish star Katie Gregson-MacLeod – the first on the line-up to be revealed – who joins The Who and Ayrshire-based rapper Bemz as the first nominees to be announced.


In its third year at Barrowland Ballroom, the awards ceremony aims to raise vital funds in aid of Nordoff and Robbins, for them to continue to delivering music therapy sessions in Scotland, which help break through barriers caused by life-limiting illness, disability and social isolation, creating space for people to express themselves and find connection.

Donald MacLeod MBE, Chairman of Nordoff and Robbins Scotland Fundraising Committee, said “It’s incredible to have been a part of the evolution of the Scottish Music Awards from 25 years ago to now. Phenomenal amounts of vital funds have been raised for the charity in that time, with over £170,000 coming in from last year’s ceremony alone.

None of this would have been possible without the involvement of some of Scotland’s favourite musicians, and others within the industry who have consistently given Nordoff and Robbins their support through the awards. This year’s Specsavers Scottish Music Awards are set to be another glamourous evening of great music for an even greater cause.”

Arlene Stephenson, Specsavers’ Scottish divisional chair, said “Specsavers is proud to be the headline sponsor of the Scottish Music Awards for a fifth consecutive year.

We can’t wait to see Scotland’s music industry come together for a show-stopping celebration that will raise funds for Nordoff and Robbins.

Music therapy supports positive change and allows those in need to build confidence and improve social wellbeing. Helping people reach their full potential through their senses closely reflects the work we do at Specsavers.

We look forward to the event returning to Glasgow’s iconic Barrowland Ballroom for what is sure to be another spectacular evening of music and fundraising.”

In alphabetical order, the first nominees for this year’s Specsavers Scottish Music Awards include

Bemz – Blur 69 Vodka Sound of Scotland Award
Katie Gregson-MacLeod – VEGA Breakthrough Award
The Who – ROX – Diamonds & Thrills Icon Award

Specsavers Scottish Music Awards has a long history of honouring some of the biggest and best names in music – a theme set to continue this year with one of rock’s most famous four-pieces, The Who, nominated for ROX – Diamonds & Thrills Icon Award.

Having earned critical acclaim around the world, and with music that continues to inspire and influence artists today, lead singer Roger Daltrey said “We’ve been involved with Nordoff and Robbins since the beginning…and it’s good to see it’s still going. I hope people continue to support the charity.”

Hailing from Inverness, Katie Gregson-MacLeod, who shot to fame after posting a video singing first track ‘Complex’ on social media, has been nominated for Breakthrough Award, sponsored by Glasgow’s sky-high entertainment destination VEGA.


In just over a year, the 22-year-old has gone from writing songs in her parent’s home to signing a record deal off the back of her viral success.

Ahead of her performance at the ceremony, Katie Gregson-MacLeod said “I owe so much to the Scottish music scene and am so grateful to have come from such a vibrant and supportive community, so to be receiving this Breakthrough Award nomination is a huge honour.

The last year has been so wild for my career but it highlighted to me the importance of my years in the grassroots scene in Scotland and the way it shaped me as an artist.

I’ll never stop shouting from the rooftops about the Scottish scene, because I’m so proud to be a part of it. Thank you to the Scottish Music Awards for this recognition, it’s baffling and affirming in equal measure.”

Having received recognition as BBC Introducing’s Scottish Act of the Year – and taken centre stage at the country’s biggest festivals TRNSMT and Connect – rising star rapper Bemz is making big waves in Scotland’s music scene, earning him a nomination for Blur 69 Vodka Sound of Scotland Award.

As his career catapults from strength to strength, he said “I’m so honoured to be nominated for the Sound of Scotland Award. My music has been a journey and comfort to me and for it to get me this far is something I could only have dreamt off. Thank you everyone always.”

Last year’s Specsavers Scottish Music Awards was its most successful edition yet, featuring performances from honorary Scot Rod Stewart, the newly revived Altered Images and Hebridean hot-tickets Peat and Diesel.

Also hosted by long-time Nordoff and Robbins supporter Edith Bowman, it celebrated big-names and up-and-comers alike, all in the name of raising funds for the UK’s largest independent music therapy charity.

Edith Bowman said “I’m incredibly excited to be back hosting the Specsavers Scottish Music Awards at the Barrowland Ballroom, particularly to highlight the 25th anniversary but specifically to raise vital money and awareness of the incredible Nordoff and Robbins and their mission to help people to connect and communicate through the power of music.

Once again, it’s been another incredible year in Scotland’s music scene and I’m looking forward to recognising and celebrating that talent at the ceremony.”

Funds raised on the night via online donations, live auctions and ticket sales are a vital part of the charity’s ability to provide music therapists and sessions to those who need it most.

The Specsavers Scottish Music Awards have also revealed Go Radio as their official radio partner for 2023.

Tune into Go Radio for exclusive interviews and build up to the ceremony.