Scotland boasts some badass festivals catering to all kinds. Come rain or shine, there’s always an excuse to don the Coachella-worthy sartorial picks and dance your cares away. From Edinburgh’s shining status as a festival city, to unique cultural gatherings further afar, here are the 10 Scottish festivals worth raving about!
Move over Coachella and Glastonbury, Scotland has Electric Fields — and it’s set in the enchanting forested grounds of Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway! This weekend festival pushes the frontiers of fun with its kickass lineup and added bonuses; including a fairground with carousel, Pitt Street Food market, artisanal selection of spirits and ales, unrivaled kids program (graffiti walls and an adventure playground), spoken word performances and luxurious glamping options. A mind-reeling festival experience with buckets of charm.
Following its highly successful debut in Glasgow Green, TRNSMT Festival is already has the go-ahead for 2018. Regarded by many as Scotland’s remedy for the loss of festival golden child T In The Park, this beauty is just what the doctor ordered. 2017 welcomed acts like Radiohead, The 1975, London Grammar, Biffy Clyro, Kasabian and Belle & Sebastian, to name a few. What the future lineups hold, one can only dream. Watch out for this one.
Taking the title of the world’s largest arts festival, the Fringe is a sight to behold. Once more, you need to see it to truly believe it, not to mention the enormity of talent involved. Every year without fail, thousands of budding comedians, performers, singers, cabaret stars and street artists alike congregate in Scotland’s capital to bring even more magic to the spellbinding city. From free shows to renowned acts, this is where the party’s at! May you forever stay on the fringe.
The star of Scotland’s folk scene, the Shetland Folk Festival is an authentic celebration of culture and a true wonderland for folk enthusiasts. This iconic annual shindig has been going strong for nearly four decades and welcomes international, British and Scottish artists alike. From traditional pub sessions and intimate gigs, to workshops, youth programmes and community outreach events, this prestigious folk music extravaganza is the most remote and northerly folk festival in the UK.
A hotbed of creativity and ingenuity, the Edinburgh International Film Festival celebrates all things film from production to the finished showcase. This annual cinematic celebration is a platform for filmmakers, film buffs and other industry professionals to jump on the artistic bandwagon and show off their greatest works from across the globe. As heart wrenching as it is engrossing.
Without stories, the world would be a place devoid of history, heritage and all things that make cultures tick. Dedicated to the preservation and celebration of oral narratives ingrained into the tongues of Scots and societies from further afar, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival is a vibrant showcase of live storytelling performances, spoken word, plays, discussions and more. Each year revolves around a new theme, uniting people from all over the world one word at a time.
Functioning out of Scotland’s capital, the Edinburgh Art Festival draws upon the immense talents of emerging and acclaimed artists and is the largest yearly festival of visual art in the UK. Highlights include endless exhibitions, new openings, special commissions and one-off events, each of which is set across numerous art galleries, venues and artist spaces across the city. The cherry on top is that most things are free.
Loopallu may be one of Scotland’s smaller music festivals but don’t let that fool you. What it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in notoriety. This fan favourite is a boutique-like festival event, which counts Franz Ferdinand, Mumford & Sons, Paolo Nutini, Twin Atlantic, The View and The Fratellis as the bands lucky enough to grace the intimate stage. Bestowed with effortless fun and a raved about essence, Loopallu (Ullapool spelled backwards) ticks every box, and then some.
Solas Festival is an unmitigated pleasure playground where thinkers, ravers and out-the-box doers of all ages collide in an epic space overflowing with artistic auditory and mental stimulation. Based in The Bield at Blackruthven, this dreamy festival features national treasures in the form of pop, indie and rock bands and musicians. As an arty affair, it also welcomes an array of riveting debates from activists, writers and thinkers spanning all realms. And the music is on point!
A fabulous musical bash, the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival is praised for its sizeable spread of famous bands and musicians, which over the years have ranged from Tom Jones and Ed Sheeran, to Ben Howard and Deacon Blue. Hosted near Inverness from the grounds of Belladrum Estate, it takes place in August and always sells out fast. Suited to effortless festival fun, Tartan Heart glamping options include luxury fairy light-adorned yurts, handcrafted tipis and even family-friendly pre-pitched tents. The beauty parlour, complete with massive mirrors and plug sockets galore, is a magnificent touch.