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Things to do | Posted 17 Jan 2020

Scotland boasts a rich and colourful folk music tradition and as a result, every year all over the country there’s a treasury of festivals to enjoy. So, whether you’re heading to the highlands with music in mind or you’re looking for something to do during your trip up North, we’ve put together a guide to 12 of Scotland’s best traditional folk music festivals to whet your appetite. 

Celtic Connections

Jan 16th - Feb 2nd 2020
We’d need to write an article of its own to let you know everything that’s going on in this vast and infamous Glasgow based 18-day event, so let us dangle a carrot by saying there are 300 events, 2,100 artists on the bill and 20 venues to entertain you. Yes, it’s huge, but it’s the place to be if you’re a folk fan. You can book tickets to any of the gigs that tickle your fancy via the event’s website.

Top tip: If you need somewhere to get your head down and put your feet up between gigs check out our Glasgow hotels. 

Big Burns Night

Jan 25th 2020
This traditional folk music and food festival takes place in Perth and Kinross where you’ll find live Scottish music from The River, Calum Campbell, Heidrum and The Mad Ferret Band. There’ll also be home-cooked traditional food and better yet, entry is free! Head to the Twa Tams at 79-81 Scott Street where doors open at 7pm. 

The Niel Gow Festival

March 20-22 2020
Head to the picturesque villages of Dunkeld and Birnam for this breeding ground of traditional music talent. Born in 2004 to celebrate the life of fiddle legend Niel Gow, this event has snowballed into a buzzing two-day event offering workshops, performances, and events. The hosts are a not for profit organisation and they ask for charitable donations rather than ticketing the event. 

Glenfarg Folk Feast

April 3-5 2020
This stalwart of the folk festival calendar is organised by the Glenfarg Folk Club and attracts a multitude of acoustic musicians as well as storytellers and poets. This year’s line up includes Jez Lowe & the Bad Pennies, Christine Bovill and many more. It’s held at the Green Hotel in Kinross and tickets are yet to be released, so keep an eye on the Club’s website for the latest info.

Rockerbie Music Festival

April 18th 2020
This traditional, Celtic and folk event’s located in Lockerbie in Dumfries and Galloway and you’ll be treated to a selection of the country’s best-unsigned bands. Hailed the premier live music event of the Mid-Annandale’s, you’ll find this it in the townhall of Lockerbie, tickets will set you back £11.25 and doors open at 6pm.

Gig in the Goil

May 1-3 2020
Again, this one features an eclectic mix of music including traditional folk. Held in the heart of the Argyll it’s a unique music festival spanning three stages with local food and drinks on offer to tempt your tastebuds. 

Alongside the Scottish traditional sounds, you’ll be treated to rock, acoustic and alternative music and in the event’s fifth-year, acts on the line-up include Peat & Diesel, Heron Valley and Face The West. Expect to pay £29.50-34.50 for an adult weekend ticket, £5 for kids and under 5s go free. 

Edinburgh Tradfest

May 1-11 2020
This 10-day event was launched back in 2013 to offer a stand-alone platform for folk arts in the capital with the aim of attracting anyone who appreciates music. During the event, you’ll be treated to a wide array of performances including Baltic Crossing, Fiona Hunter, and Talisk to name just a few. 

Coined the past, present and future of traditional music, this is a must for folk music fans. As well as live music you’ll find talks, family-friendly storytelling and workshops. Grab your tickets from the Soundhouse website. 

The Gathering

May 30th 2020
This brand spanking new music event only launched in 2019, takes place in Inverness and will be a celebration of the best traditional and folk music throughout the highlands and across Scotland. As well as live music from the Blazing Fiddles, Peatbog Faeries and more, there’ll be food, drink, stalls and crafts at this family-friendly gathering of like-minded music fans. 

It takes place at the Northern Meeting Park and tickets will cost you £49.50 for an adult, £33 for a child or £132 for a family of four. If you’ll be travelling from afar then why not make a night of it at our conveniently located Inverness hotel?

Portsoy Music Festival: The Eleventh Haal

June 5-7 2020
This three-day festival can be found in Banff in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire where you’ll find everything from Burns to Bothy Ballads, Folk, Celtic and Irish-influenced music. The festival aims to capture the North of Scotland’s varied music traditions and in its 11th year will be held in various venues across Portsoy. Head to the host’s (the Salmon Bothy’s) website for ticket details. 

Top tip: Need to catch some z’s after all that toe-tapping? Any of our Aberdeen hotels will offer you a large, comfortable bed.

Doune the Rabbit Hole

July 17-19 2020
There’s a strong line-up of music at this Stirlingshire boutique festival which includes folk bands as well as lots of other genres. If you like to dip your toe in the water of things alongside folk and are looking for something to keep the whole family happy, then this is the festival for you. You’ll find a kids area, workshops, yoga classes, food and drink stalls and loads more here. An adult ticket will cost you £110, under 1’s £40, and under 12s go free. 

Biggar Little Festival

October 15-25 2020
This extensive 10-day event is held in the town of Biggar just an hour outside of Edinburgh. The festival is a marvellous cultural event which spans multiple venues and stages throughout the town. You’ll discover a whole host of musical genres, dance and literature shows, theatre, and Ceilidh events - parties and social events where Scottish and Irish folklore tales are shared alongside traditional folk music. 

Top Tip: Planning on squeezing every last moment out of the festivities? Then you’ll need to get some rest in-between and our Edinburgh hotels will ensure you get a great night’s sleep.

Perthshire Amber Festival

November 6-8 2020
This two-day event spread across venues in Perthshire is a traditional music festival hosting new artists alongside festival favourites. There’ll be a mixture of evening concerts, afternoon events, cabaret, open mic and more. The line-up for 2020 is yet to be announced and tickets don’t go on sale until May, so keep your eyes peeled on the Perthshire Amber website for all the latest. 

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