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Festivals features

Festivals come in many shapes and sizes. There are festivals which celebrate one artform, like music or literature, and those which involve lots of different kinds of arts and entertainment. To find out more about festivals taking place throughout Scotland, as well as international festivals featuring Scottish artists, please click on the image or hyperlink.

Edinburgh Festivals 2008

Slick by Vox Motus


Edinburgh festival awards round up

Outstanding work supported by the Scottish Arts Council was recognised in a series of awards at this year’s Edinburgh festival… read more


Read about a new Festival Expo fund from the Scottish Government and a visit by cultural diplomats from across the world hosted by the Scottish Arts Council and Visiting Arts in our Edinburgh Festival: Foreign Exposure webpage

This Mortal Coil by Chunky Move

Read about some of the highlights of the various Edinburgh Festivals 2008.

Past featured festivals

Thomas StrØnen; Photo: C F Wesenberg; Courtesy: Bows Art

Bows Art

Bows Art present a mini-festival commemorating the centenary of the death of composer Edvard Grieg. November 2007.

Tamburlaine Must Die; Photo courtesy Glasgay!

Glasgay! 2007

A dash of sparkling celebrities, gothic drama, evocative music and visual arts - one of the coolest festivals of the year! 12 October - 11 November.

DANCE:FILM 07 - Dirty Dancing; Photo: Julie Howden


Scotland's inaugural dance film festival, taking place from 29 October to 4 November 2007.

Storylab logo


A new three week celebration of Scotland’s young storytelling and storymaking talent

Storytelling; Scottish Storytelling Centre

Scottish International Storytelling Festival 07

Come and celebrate the ancient art of Storytelling

Hlysnan; Photo: Claire Pencak

Dance Live! 07

A series of events and performances taking place in Aberdeen during October 2007.

Pile of books; Photo: Rebecca Moyce

Wigtown Book Festival 2007

Celebrate the written word at Scotland's Booktown, 28 September - 7 October.

Robert McLellan Festival; Courtesy: Robert McLellan Festival

Robert McLellan Festival

a profile of the Robert McLellan Festival on the Isle of Arran

summer festivals feature

Summer festivals 2007

A look at the festivals to entertain you throughout Scotland during this (hopefully!) long, scorching-hot summer!

Grid Iron's Once Upon a Dragon; photo: Tim Morrozzo 

Imaginate Children's International Theatre Festival 2007

A look back at the UK's largest performing arts festival for children and young people.

Kidnapped; Photo: Jim Aird 

Old Town Festival

The Scottish Storytelling Centre's celebration of Edinburgh's historic Old Town. From 18 June to 1 July.

St Monans Kirk; Photo: Andy McGregor

East Neuk Festival

The East Neuk Festival took place in Fife from 27 June to 1 July.

Leith Festival logo

Leith Festival 2007

A rich variety of music, drama, exibitions and much more. 
From 1 - 10 June.

Kaffe Matthews and others; Sonic Bed Scotland at Bang07

Le Weekend 2007

Join Scotland's trailblazing experimental music festival for it's tenth year! From 25 - 27 May.

The Waterboys; Photo courtesy Perth Festival

Perth Festival of the Arts

With a stunning array of talent including The Waterboys, the Magic Numbers, Bryn Terfel and Julian Clary.  From 16 - 27 May 2007.

Reading a book; Photo: Rebecca Moyce

Word 07

Aberdeen's annual festival, taking place from 11 - 13 May 2007.

Breakdancer Nico Major; Photo: Nico Major

Breakin' Convention

The UK's first ever hip hop dance theatre festival comes to Edinburgh, 11 - 12 May.

Wigtown Booktown; Photo: Allan Devlin - South West Images Scotland

Wigtown Spring Festival

Escape to Scotland's National Book Town on 5 and 6 May 2007.

 BMX Bandits; Coutesy: Tigerfest

Tigerfest 2007

Taking place in Dunfermline and Edinburgh from 1 - 31 May 2007.

Harpist and fiddler; Photo: Graham Clark

Ceilidh Culture 2007

Edinburgh's annual showcase of traditional arts, 24 March to 15 April 2007.

Aidan O'Rourke; Photo: Craig MacKay

The Tolbooth and the Blend festival

The home of the Blend Festival, Stirling's arts venue celebrates its fifth birthday this year.  The Blend festival runs from 15 - 18 March.

Film Still; Photo: StAnza: Scotland's Poetry Festival

StAnza Poetry Festival 2007

Join StAnza's 10th birthday festivities! Running from 14 - 18 March 2007 in St Andrews.

 My Latest Novel; Photo: Mark Connolly; Courtesy: Bella Union Records

South by Southwest 2007

A profile of the annual music and media conference in Austin, Texas.  Running from 9 - 18 March 2007.

Bramble Bae with Margot; Photo: Glen Roberts

Aberdeen Storytelling and Theatre Festival 2007

The biggest festival of its kind in Scotland running from 12 February until 28 March 2007.

 Jan Allan; Photo: Mats Backer; Courtesy: Johan Scherwin

Jazz from Sweden

A profile of the festival featuring Swedish and Scottish jazz musicians, taking place at venues around Scotland from 8 February to 19 March 2007.

Amy Fleming; Photo: Jim Buchan, ERC

East Renfrewshire Storytelling Festival 2007

Find out more about the festival taking place from 6 February to 4 March 2007.

Aye Write! mug; Photo: Glasgow Libraries, Glasgow City Council

Aye Write! 2007

Glasgow's annual book festival - taking place from 16 - 25 February.

 Humcrush (featuring Thomas StrØnen) Dialogues 2006 Festival; Photo: Johara Chambers

Dialogues 2007

A profile of the annual festival of live electronic music, held at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh on 16 to 17 February 2007.

Malinky; Photo: Archie MacFarlane; Courtesty: Steve Byrne

North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance

Malinky showcase at the Folk Alliance in Memphis, Tennessee in February 2007.

Showcase Scotland logo

Showcase Scotland 2007

Showcase Scotland takes place during Celtic Connections in Glasgow from 24 to 28 January.

Kathleen Jamie; Photo: Alan Young

Winter Words Festival 2007

Taking place in Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 25 until 28 January

Fireworks as ‘bells’ ring in New Year over Stirling Castle

Festive Season 2006 and January 2007 highlights

Browse through our festive season feature packed with highlights for Christmas, Hogmanay and January 2007.  We've also come up with top ideas to help you fill Santa's stocking.

Rajesh Mehta; Courtesy: Rajesh Mehta

Sound Festival 2006

The annual contemporary music festival takes place throughout Scotland's northeast in November.

Lie to me by Kathy McKean; Photo: Glasgay!

Glasgay! 2006

Glasgay! celebrates it's 13th birthday with an exciting programme of film, theatre, dance and much more.  From 14 October to 12 November.

Storyteller Senga Munro entertains primary school pupils; Photo: Bernadette MacPherson

17th International Scottish Storytelling Festival

25 October until 5 November, including National Tell a Story Day 

Richard Holloway; Photo: Courtesy of Wigtown Book Festival

Wigtown Book Festival 2006 

Wigtown's annual book festival, taking place this year from 22 September until 1 October

The Arches; Photo: Niall Walker

Arches Theatre

The Arches 15th Anniversary - festival celebrations

 Martin Taylor; Photo: Sarkis Boyadjian: courtesy: Assembly Direct

Black Bottle Islay Jazz Festival

A profile of the jazz festival which takes place on the west coast island in September

 Back of the Moon; Photo Harry Smart

Blas Festival 2006

One of Scotland's newest music festivals takes place in the Highlands in September

Summer Festivals

Summer festivals 2006

Thousands of visitors flock to Scotland to enjoy world class festivals.  Read more about the Edinburgh Festivals, community festivals and other arts festivals across Scotland this summer.

Eddie Reader; Photo: West End Festival

West End Festival 2006

Don't miss Glasgow's biggest festival, celebrating it's 10th anniversary with Mardi Gras and over 350 events from classical music to theatre in Kelvingrove Park!  From 9 to 25 June.

Scottish Ensemble; Photo: John Paul

St Magnus Festival

Orkney's annual music festival takes place in June.

Selection of 2006 CITF shows; Photo: Design by Emma Quinn

Theatre Festivals: children and young people

Visit our Drama features page to read about theatre festivals and a focus on Visible Fictions - performing at the Children's International Theatre Festival this month.

Blues legend, John Hammond; Photo: Kendall Messick; Courtesy: Paul Babin

 Big Big Country

Glasgow's annual festival of Americana takes place 16 to 27 May.

Amazozo inflatable sculpture, Clapham; Photo: Perth Festival

Perth Festival of the Arts 2006

The 35th Perth Festival features big names as well as a brand new concert hall!  From 18 to 28 May.

The Seer, Dogstar; Photo: Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival 2006

Enjoy Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival with music, theatre, comedy, film, visual arts and literary events in venues across the region.  From 26 May to 3 June.

 Thomas Korber on electronics; Photo: Thomas Korber

Le Weekend

A profile of Stirling's annual experimental music and sound festival.  From 26 to 28 May.

Heavy Metal's skills connect with the community; Photo: Ron Hasted 

Live Music Now! Scotland

A profile of the UK's largest outreach music organisation and its work in Scotland.  From 26 to 28 May.

Display of books; Photo: Rebecca Moyce

Word 06

Aberdeen's annual writers' festival, taking place from 12 to 14 May 2006.

Puppet Animation Festival Logo; Photo Courtesy John Fardell

Puppet Animation Festival 2006

The festival returns with a jam-packed programme of events throughout Scotland.  From 13 March to 23 April.

David Campbell; Photo: Ian Mackenzie

Ceilidh Culture 2006

Edinburgh's annual showcase of traditional arts with the best of home-grown talent alongside acts from across the world.  From 1 to 22 April 2006.

Edinburgh International Harp Festival logo 

Edinburgh International Harp Festival 2006

A profile of the 25th Edinburgh International Harp Festival running from 7 to 12 April 2006.

Long Blondes; Courtesy: Darling Department 

Triptych 2006

A profile of the festival reaching across Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen from 26 to 30 April 2006.

Carmel Sheerin and the Ravens; Courtesy: C Sheerin & Ravens

Shetland Folk Festival 2006

A profile of the UK’s most northerly folk festival, now in its 26th year. Running from 27 to 30 April 2006.

Pile of books; Photo: Rebecca Moyce


Scotland's only dedicated poetry festival.  From 16 to 19 March 2006, in St Andrews, Fife.

Jenna Reid; Photo: Eddie White; Courtesy: The Blend festival

The Blend

A look at the annual roots music festival held in Stirling from 15 to 19 March 2006.

Lucky Luke; Photo: Neale Smith; Courtesy: Ian Murray 

SXSW 2006

A profile of one of the largest international music industry networking and showcasing events in the world, held in Texas from 10 to 19 March 2006.

Aberdeen Jazz Festival with Tina May; Courtesy: Jazz Aberdeen 

Aberdeen Jazz Festival 2006

A profile of the third annual festival of jazz in Scotland's northeast city.  From 8 to 12 March 2006.

Bubu & Yoshiko Shimada; Photo: Bubu & Yoshiko Shimada

New Territories 2006

New home, same outstanding talent!  From 8 February to 11 March 2006.

Atsuhiro Ito; Courtesy: Atsuhiro Ito

Kill Your Timid Notion (KYTN) 2006

A look at the annual experimental music and visuals festival in Dundee, running from 17 to 19 February 2006.

Plugged in; Photo: Rebecca Moyce

East Renfrewshire storytelling festival

Now in it's second year, the 2006 festival ran from 30 January to 17 February.

Fire-eater at Celtic Connections; Photo: Ashley Coombes 

Celtic Connections 2006

Kick off the 2006 festival calendar in style with performances by The Levellers, Steeleye Span and MBE recipient Eddi Reader, amongst others.  From 11 to 29 January 2006.

Trees against the sky; Photo: Sue Carter

Winter Words 2006

Highland Perthshire's very own literature festival.  Featuring literary stars and celebrities including Elaine C. Smith, Christopher Brookmyre and Ian Rankin.  From 26 to 29 January 2006.

Fireworks as ‘bells’ ring in New Year over Stirling Castle

Festive Season 2005
Browse through our festive season feature packed with event highlights for Christmas, Hogmanay and January 2006.  More about Festive Season 2005

Festival of Light 2004; Photo: Carrick Rural Arts Group

Carrick Festival of Light

Light up your fifth of November with a visit to this spectacular event, taking place at the harbour and boating lake in Girvan, South Ayrshire.  Read on to find out more, including creating the River of Light.

Storyteller Senga Munro entertains primary school pupils; Photo: Bernadette MacPherson

Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Read about the 2005 Storytelling Festival and National Tell a Story Day.

The History Boys; Photo: Courtesy Theatre Royal

Glasgay! 2005

Scotland's annual celebration of queer culture is now underway in Glasgow.  Find out more about theatre at Glasgay! 2005 in our feature.  From 20 October to 20 November 2005.

'Terra Verte' image by Emma Varley; Photo: GaelForce

GaelForce Festival 2005

A unique festival programme held in Dumfries and Galloway with over 250 individual festivals and events, GaelForce brings a storm of arts and entertainment across the region.  From 19 August to 30 October 2005.

Summer festivals image

Summer Festivals 2005
Read about the festivals in Edinburgh and across Scotland during the summer in 2005.

Wigtown Booktown; Photo: Allan Devlin - South West Images Scotland

Wigtown Book Festival 2005

Read about Wigtown's 2005 book festival, which ran from between 23 September to 2 October.

Sitar player at Edinburgh Mela 2003; Photo: Pascal Saez

Edinburgh MELA 2005

Now in its 11th year, the Edinburgh Mela is a vibrant festival for all the family.  Held at Edinburgh's Pilrig Park on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September 2005.

Image from Voice Stealer; Photo: Courtesy Stephen Holland

Degenerate 3

Theatre Workshop’s Degenerate Festival brings together leading disabled artists whose work and vision challenge outdated stereotypes and create a culture of excellence and diversity.  From 11 to 20 August 2005.

Edinburgh International Book Festival; Photo: Pascal Saez

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2005

Read about the highly successful 2005 book festival, held in August.

Dancer in Ashely Page's Acrid Arvid Jam; Photo: Catherine Ashmore

Dance Base Festival 2005 Programme

A goody bag jam packed with exiting treats featuring some of Scotland’s top dance artists with work from Scottish Ballet’s Artistic Director Ashley Page, to Hip Hop fusion by Freshmess.  From 10 to 20 August 2005.

Perth Youth Theatre; Photo: Courtesy Horsecross

Promote YT's Festival of Youth Theatre 2005

In 2003, young people and youth drama workers were consulted about a National Festival at the Youth Theatre Seminar in Aberdeen.  Their ideas are brought to life between 14 and 17 July 2005.

Feet step dancing; Photo: John Sikorski

Fèis an Eilein - the Skye Festival

Based at the stunning Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in South Skye, the 14th Skye Festival offers music from Scotland and around the world, theatre, film, children's events plus a new book festival - Aos Dana.  From 12 to 23 July 2005. 

Barb Jungr; Photo: Buckie Festival

Buckie Festival

The 2005 Buckie Festival kicked off its third year mid-June, with seven days of top class entertainment in Moray, including ceilidh dancing, comedy, cabaret and children's theatre.

Cellist Claudio Bohorquez; Photo: St Magnus Festival

St Magnus Festival

Orkney's mid-summer festival of the arts,  with a programme featuring music, drama, poetry, exhibition, film and community events.  From 17 to 22 June 2005.

West End Festival parade 2004; Photo: West End Festival

West End Festival 2005

Glasgow's biggest festival, with over 400 events over two weeks.  With an extensive music programme, theatre, dance and the popular opening parade.  From 10 to 26 June 2005.

Intercity Edinburgh image; Photo: Dimitri Milopulos

Intercity Festival 2005, Florence

In 2005, the Intercity Festival set its sights on Edinburgh.  The festival saw eight new Scottish works translated and performed for European and international audiences.

North Glasgow International Festival 2004; Photo: Pascal Saez

North Glasgow International Festival

In 2004, over 15,000 people came together for this one day festival and the 2005 festival, held in early June, looks set to repeat the success.

Festive Flowers; Photo: Custom House Art Gallery & Studio, Kirkcudbright

Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival

For two weeks in May and June, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival brings performers of the highest quality to the region.  Find out more about the 2005 festival here.

Musicians at the Orkney Folk Festival; Photo: John Sikorski

Orkney Folk Festival

The sweet strains of fiddles, accordions, voices and guitars marked the start of the summer when Orkney Folk Festival ran from 26 to 29 May 2005.

TPO's Children's Cheering Carpet; Photo: Davide Venturini 


Read about Imaginate, the children's arts development agency, responsible for creating and producing the Children's International Theatre Festival which takes place during May.

Street artists, City Hall, Perth Festival 2004; Photo: John Glen

Perth Festival of the Arts

During May 2005, Perth Festival presented its most ambitious programme to date with artists ranging from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to Teenage Fanclub and Paul Merton.

Jupiter and Teardrop performing at SxSW; Photo: Evan Henderson

South by Southwest 2005

Read about the South by Southwest music convention in Texas, and the success of the Scottish bands who performed.

Jeremy Strong kicks off the children's programme; Photo: AJ McLean

Word 05

Held in May 2005, the fifth Word Writers' Festival at the University of Aberdeen featured an impressive line-up of some of the finest writers from Scotland and beyond.

Susannah Silver; Photo: Invisible Fields, Video Art Scotland

Glasgow International Festival

The city's first curated and commissioning festival of contemporary visual art took place over twelve days in April and May 2005.

Emergency Exit Arts, Runga Rung; Photo: Alan McAteer

Big in Falkirk 2005

Scotland's national street arts festival returned on 30 April and 1 May 2005 with an assortment of spectacular outdoor theatre, international street arts and much more.

Rene Marie; Photo: Max Jazz

Dundee Jazz Festival

The festival ran over a weekend, 29 April to 1 May 2005, and featured a host of international stars playing alongside some fantastic local talent.

Edinburgh International Harp Festival logo

Edinburgh International Harp Festival 2005

Find out more about the festival which took place in Merchiston Castle High School at the beginning of April.

Puppet Animation Festival Logo; Photo: John Fardell

Puppet Animation Festival

A focus on the UK's oldest and largest performing arts event for children, held from 14 March to 20 April 2005.

Harpist and fiddler; Photo: Graham Clark

Ceilidh Culture festival 2005

Edinburgh's annual showcase of traditional arts, which ran from 19 March until 17 April, displaying the best home-grown talent performing alongside international stars from all sectors of the traditional arts.

Saxophonist Chris Potter; Photo: Drew Goren

Aberdeen Jazz Festival

Find out more about Aberdeen's second annual jazz festival held in March 2005, with a fantastic line up of international, national and local performers.

Kids' Poetry Flags; Photo: Richard Cormack

StAnza - Scotland's poetry festival

Read about Scotland's only regular festival dedicated to poetry.

Aberdeen Enchanted Storytelling and Theatre Festival 2004; Photo: Gavin Ramsay

The Aberdeen Enchanted Storytelling and Theatre Festival

Find out more about the festival, which ran for six weeks in February and March 2005.

Catherine Diverres dance company; Photo: Catherine Diverres

new territories 2005

Scotland's international festival of live arts, held in February and March 2005.

Dialogues logo 2005; Photo: Anna Chapman


Read a profile of the festival in Edinburgh which celebrates new music and new media.

Book cover; The Algebraist by Iain M Banks

Aye Write! - Glasgow's first major book festival

Read about Glasgow's first ever major book festival, held in February 2005.

Club Fab; Photo; Rachel Jury


Find out more about Scotland's annual festival of queer culture.

La Cellule d’Intervention Metamkine; Photo: Christophe Auger and Xavier Quèrel

Kill Your Timid Notion 

Read a profile of the contemporary music festival held in Dundee during December.

Edinburgh International Book Festival; Photo: Pascal Saez

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Have a look at the 21st birthday celebrations of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Children performing at the St Magnus Festival; Photo: Orkney Photographic

St Magnus Festival 2004

Read about Orkney's highly regarded midsummer celebration of the arts.

Singer at Hebridean Celtic Festival; Photo: Leila Angus, Brighter Still

Hebridean Celtic Festival

Find out more about the international music festival, based in Stornoway, which was voted 'Event of the Year' at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2004.

In Features
*Perth Festival
*West End Festival
*Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival
*North Glasgow International Festival
*Buckie Festival 05
*Edinburgh Mela 2005
*Carrick Festival of Light
*Perth Festival 06
*Dumfries & Galloway Festival 06
*West End Festival 2006
*Summer Festivals 2006
*Glasgay 2006
*Perth Festival 2007
*Le Weekend 2007
*Leith Festival 07
*Glasgay! 2007
*Edinburgh Festivals 2008
*Edinburgh Festivals: Foreign Exposure
*Festival Awards Round up
Giant puppet, North Glasgow International Festival parade; Photo: Pascal Saez
'Terra Verte' image by Emma Varley; Photo: GaelForce
Sitar player, Edinburgh Mela 2003; Photo: Pascal Saez
Drummer, North Glasgow International Festival; Photo: Pascal Saez
Drummers, North Glasgow International Festival; Photo: Pascal Saez
Performer on the Royal Mile; Photo: Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Claire Dowie; Photo: Colin Watkeys and Glasgay!
Street artists, City Hall, Perth Festival 2004; Photo: John Glen
Parade at the West End Festival 2004; Photo: West End Festival
A singer at Blazin' in Beauly 2003; Photo: Tom Baker
Crowds at West End Festival 2004; Photo: West End Festival
Parade, Hairth of Knockrach; Photo: GaelForce
Crowds on the Royal Mile; Photo: Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Conductor at Edinburgh Mela 2003; Photo: Pascal Saez
Terra Verte by Jan Hogarth; Photo: GaelForce
Fiddlers at Blazin' in Beauly 2003; Photo: Tom Baker
North Glasgow International Festival parade; Photo: Pascal Saez
Street Theatre, Big in Falkirk 2005; Photo: Alan McAteer
Hairth of Knockrach; Photo: Gaelforce
Big in Falkirk 2005, Mischief La-Bas; Photo: Alan McAteer
West End Festival 2004 parade; Photo: West End Festival
Alan Carr; Photo: Adrian Howells and Glasgay!
West End Festival 2004 parade; Photo: West End Festival
Fiddler at Blazin' in Beauly 2003; Photo: Tom Baker
Behind the scenes, North Glasgow International Festival; Photo: Pascal Saez
Crowds on the Royal Mile; Photo: Edinburgh Festival Fringe
David Paul Jones; Photo: Niall Walker and Glasgay!
Drummer at Edinburgh Mela 2003; Photo: Pascal Saez
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