I WAS lucky enough to be one of the 65,000 feather-boa-laden cowboy hat-wearing fans dancing the night away at Harry Styles on Saturday night.

In what was a record-breaking performance from the king of eccentrics, Styles quite literally took over the capital.

There wasn’t a square inch of Edinburgh City Centre that didn’t find itself home to a rogue colourful feather, detached from one of the tens of thousands of feather boas that were descending on Murrayfield.

As a 26-year-old girl, my formative years coincided with the cultural reset that was the One Direction era. The hold this band had on the entire world was unprecedented, especially given their humble X Factor beginnings.

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No-one was prepared for the level of fame and mass hysteria that would surround this group of, ultimately very normal, boys.

I’m sure some staunch Directioners will disagree, but in my opinion, Styles was the main man from the very beginning.

The charisma he embodied was like nothing else out there, and that popularity has only followed him into his solo career, if not expanded even further.

A wildly popular man that still has the world in a trance 13 years later.

I looked around the stadium on Saturday night and actually felt overwhelmed by the number of people that had turned out to see him perform. Coupled with the sheer range of people that were there and the way that the entire crowd fell so silent you could hear a pin drop during his performance of Fine Line – his power apparently limitless.

Few figures in history have managed to capture the hearts and minds of the masses quite like Styles. His cheeky personality, boundary-pushing fashion choices, and undeniable talent set him aside as an icon of our time.

But besides the superficial, Styles represents the very best of humanity and is known globally for his activism – most notably for marginalised groups.

And after he broke the record for the most-attended gig in Scotland of all time, it got me thinking about why he resonates so deeply with the people of Scotland.

Famed for being a welcoming and progressive nation – and with world-first policy to back up that assertion – it’s actually no wonder to me that a figure like Styles is so celebrated or fits in so seamlessly here.

Throughout his career, he has been outspoken on access to abortion, trans rights and racial injustice to name just a few issues he’s passionate about.

He even touches on those passions through his songwriting, with his number-one track Sign Of The Times being a nod to the difficulties arising from the political landscape of the world.

Despite disheartening challenges to equality and inclusion in recent times, I firmly believe that Scotland, at its core, represents the values that fans see and adore in Styles. And it’s at least partly why so many of us turned out so enthusiastically for him at the weekend.

For a man with extensive privilege, in an industry where he has no doubt been advised to remain apolitical, I can’t lie and say that I myself am not taken in by his steely commitment to equality and fairness.

He doesn’t care who he upsets, nor does he care about his brand in this context, he just wants to make the world better. He cares deeply about his fans and makes a point of acknowledging and celebrating the diversity of them.

It’s a refreshing pivot from the celebrity status quo – and you can feel his authenticity in everything that he does from his outward political statements to the way he never fails to gently check in on the safety of his fans amidst delivering a world-class setlist to a record-breaking audience.

His ability to transcend boundaries also makes him appealing to a much broader range of people. He has seamlessly blended rock, pop, fashion and activism, connecting him with fans from all backgrounds.

This chameleon-like quality resonates strongly with the people of Scotland, who take pride in our own rich cultural heritage and the ability to embrace multiple identities.

That’s before you even get to his music. He has somewhat pivoted, as expected, from the teen sound of One Direction to a much more mature and introspective sound that offers a stark alternative to the mainstream.

The honesty and vulnerability in his lyrics are the keys to his success – success that clearly resonates across Scotland.

Styles’s unapologetic exploration of fashion and blurring of gender norms have been a prominent aspect of his public persona. He has boldly embraced flamboyant outfits and challenged traditional expectations of masculinity.

This message of self-expression and acceptance strikes a chord globally, but it’s interesting that it is so popular in Scotland in particular. We are known for our own fiercely independent and progressive spirit. Is it a coincidence that his concert was so massively attended or that he has such a vast fanbase here?

Of course not – Styles embodies the very fabric of Scotland and what it means to be Scottish.

Even if we don’t realise it, he connects to the soul of Scotland in more ways than one – and his success here is no accident.

As we face our own challenges, particularly the ongoing fight for the protection and advancement of LGBTQ+ rights in Scotland, Styles has become a symbol of empowerment and inspiration for those who seek a more accepting and inclusive society.

He represents what that society could look like, and standing at his show on Saturday felt like a deeply safe and protected space. A society we would be all the better for becoming.

Forgetting not Harry’s humble beginnings as a bakery worker, the former member of One Direction and his “normal person” qualities resonate with Scotland, we love an underdog.

Most importantly, we as a country have a deep connection to compassion and community, and Styles cultivates that like no other.

Our history of resilience and overcoming adversity, along with our love for the arts, has created a natural affinity towards Styles’s story and subsequent rise to stardom.

Being a country so proud of its unique culture, history, and identity, Styles’s acknowledgement and celebration of our heritage – including donning kilts during performances and incorporating bagpipes into his music – have further endeared him to his Scottish fanbase. In fact, it’s hard to find a box that this man doesn’t tick.

The Styles impact on popular culture is undeniable – one glance around Edinburgh city centre on Saturday night would have confirmed that for you – and his resonance with the people of Scotland can be attributed to his ability to connect on multiple levels.

Styles embodies the very values that Scotland was built on and his influence transcends beyond entertainment, inspiring fans to be true to themselves, challenge societal norms, and contribute positively to society.

As the world continues to change – in many cases for the worse – the Harry Styles impact endures, and I have no doubt will leave an indelible mark on the social fabric of Scotland.

An unparalleled performer, but more importantly, a shining example of the kind of unapologetic goodness that the world needs more of.

I’ve no doubt Scotland will welcome him back with enthusiasm for decades to come.