> SNACK Scottish Festivals Guide 2024 (pt1) - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

SNACK Scottish Festivals Guide 2024 (pt1)

In Scotland, as the days get longer and taps come aff in sweltering 18-degree heat, it means one thing. Festival season! There’s almost a Scottish festival for every day, for every occasion and for every flavour of person, which can be a little overwhelming, so here’s a wee selection of those we are daydreaming about while looking out at the current damp, dreich weather. We can’t fit in every festival we’d like to this month so we’ll be back with part 2 of our guide in the April mag.

Edinburgh Tradfest

28th April till 8th May

Edinburgh, Various Venues

This year’s Edinburgh Tradfest once again features a fantastic line-up of live music at the Traverse and elsewhere across Edinburgh. VALTOS open the festival on 3rd April at The Queen’s Hall – these Skye natives really have taken the trad and electronic music crossover world by storm, so that’ll be a treat. They’ll be joined by award-winning singer/songwriter Josie Duncan with more special guests to be announced.

What else is there? Well, over the 11 days of the festival there will be live music and workshops involving more than 100 musicians, including velvet harmonies from all-female electro-trad band Birdvox (Inge Thomson, Charlotte Printer, Jenny Sturgeon, Sarah Hayes); Triptic – formed from three members of Moishe’s Bagel, and Canada’s finest fiddle quartet, The Fretless, joined by award-winning folk singer-songwriter Madeleine Roger. There’s so much more besides, including talks, adult and children’s music workshops, ceilidhs, films, and storytelling. Best have a dig through their programme and unearth your own special bespoke festival.


BirdVox play Edinburgh Tradfest 2024


23rd till 26th May 

Galloway Hills

We’ve previously described Knockengorroch as a festival where ‘you will be plied with more smiles, more glitter, more hugs, more music, more offers of victuals, more warmth than ever before in your life.’ What else could you want? This mighty and magical corner of the Earth will host Trinidad & Tobago’s Queen Omega & The Royal Souls, Yoko Pwno (eclectic celtic fusion), Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening (genre-melting band explores the land’s historic threads of music, landscape – Amen-inspired breakbeats, ominous vocals, and the wildest of piping), and loads more. Oh, and there’ll be sax-core rave from the awesome 808 State.

It’s not just about the music, the weekend will also feature comedy and theatre shows, arts, crafts, nature and heritage workshops.  It’s one of the most family friendly festivals on the circuit, open to all ages with a dedicated quiet family camping area plus a children’s tent and procession.  The Knock Bus is the eco way to travel from Glasgow and Edinburgh. 


Queen Omega plays this years Knockengorroch 23rd-26th May

Skye Live

Portree, Skye

9th till 11th May 

It’s no exaggeration to say that Skye Live has one of the most picturesque settings of any festival in the world. Like, the whole world – that big whole thing. Set in Portree, with stunning views of the incredible Cuillin Ridge on one side and The Old Man of Storr on the other to accompany some of the best of contemporary traditional music and electronica, it’s gonna be unforgettable. You’ll have to be quick to grab tickets for this year’s fest, as the handy ticker on their website will tell you, there’s less than 15% of tickets left. Go!


The Reeling

8th till 9th June 

Rouken Glen Park, Glasgow

Set in the Glasgow Southside gem that is Rouken Glen Park (OK, it’s in East Renfrewshire, technically) this relatively new festival instantly became the biggest single weekend of traditional music in the Central Belt. Folk-electronica powerhouse Niteworks, playing their last ever gig, and Elephant Sessions will head up the Saturday while Sunday’s main stage line-up is topped by Scots Trad Awards Musician of the Year Julie Fowlis and the multi award-winning Scottish supergroup Mànran.

Throughout the weeknd you’ll be treated to SNACK favs Kinnaris Quintet, iconic Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, Siobhan Miller (four-time winner of Best Singer at the Scots Trad Music Awards) with her band, as well as Hannah Rarity, Aidan O’ Rourke, Gnoss, and a whole lot more besides.

What’s more, we’re delighted to see that The Reeling have signed a Keychange pledge booking at least 50% women and gender minorities in their lineups, as well as hiring at least 50% women and gender minorities in their direct staffing. Leading the way!


Catch Niteworks at The Reeling, 8th & 9th June

Eden Festival

13th till 16th June

Raehills Estate, near Moffat 

Eden is always a bit of a riot, in the best possible sense. This year they have Leftfield (DJ set), The Zombies (dare you miss the chance to hear ‘She’s Not There’?), drum and bass royalty LTJ Bukem, corto.alto, Optimo, Free Love, Becky Sikasa and loads more lined up besides. There’s family camping and loads of kids activities too – the cosy Cinema Caravan is back, yas! This year’s festival theme is Myths & Legends so think Loch Ness Monsters, mermaids, dragons, Koroks (go as a Korok, please) and the like. As always, there will be a prize for the best costume of the year.


SAY Award Shortlisted Becky Sikasa, Eden Festival 2024

Spring Fling

25th till 27th May

Various Locations, Dumfries & Galloway

A festival for nosy art lovers, Spring Fling is a visual art and craft open studio event. Peek inside the workshop and processes of artists practising in Dumfries & Galloway, and if you’re lucky they may even share some creative secrets with you. Can’t think of many better ways to spend a May bank holiday weekend than snooping around in artists’ offcuts and picking their brains. This year there are a whopping 104 studios taking part and they’ll be showcasing one a day on the festival Instagram. 



6th April

Various, Glasgow

This brand new one day festival presented by local DIY promoters Crowded Flat and Scottish Music Collective featuring a wealth of Scottish talent across three Glasgow venues (Nice N Sleazy, Garage Attic, and The Variety Bar). With Her Picture, Majesty Palm, Pinc Wafer, Pizza Crunch, The Zeebecks, Tina Sandwich, Cortnë, Martha May & The Mondays, and loads more SNACK favourites you’ll be spoilt for grassroots goodness.


SNACK Favourites Pizza Crunch will play HouseGuest

Colonsay Festival of Spring

29th April till 12th May

Various, Isle of Colonsay

The Colonsay Festival of Spring is a well-established event in the island’s calendar. Visitors and locals come together to enjoy this magical season and learn more about the rich natural heritage of the island through a whole host of guided walks, activities and events. From discovering archaeological heritage, wildflowers and birds, to foraging and dry stone walling, they have a number of outstanding experts in their fields to lead the various walks, talks and activities.



4th & 5th May 

City Halls, Glasgow

Tectonics, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s festival of new and experimental music, celebrates eleven years of ground-breaking music this May. Conceived by the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, Ilan Volkov, and co-curated by Alasdair Campbell (Counterflows) the festival blurs the lines between musical genres since 2013 and continues to question what music can be. Day 1 will kick off with multi-instrumentalist Kate Armitage and her entourage – actually, Kate will be performing six improvised pieces across the weekend. Apparently ‘common sense will not prevail’ – they got us with that statement alone.

Elsewhere Tokyo recorder player, improviser and sound-worker Eiko Yamada will perform her ‘sound action’. Each evening will complete with a collection of performances in the Main Hall including a healthy dose of UK and world premieres. A common thread among several of this year’s genre-defying artists is their daring use of voice, electronics, and improvisation. Sounds ace.

Limited number of discounted Weekend Passes are available until 26th April.


Kate Armitage

Solas Festival

Errol Park, Perthshire

14th till 16th June

A midsummer festival miles away from Midsommar (no ritual sacrifices on offer). While devoted to providing an entertaining weekend of global music and art practices, the weekend is peppered with ethical and voice-enhancing practices, such as debates with activists and thinkers of various disciplines. Food for the soul, the community, the earth, and the mind.  2024’s musical line-up includes the mighty Tom McGuire & the Brassholes, An Dannsa Dub, The Niche Family, Terra Kin, Pippa Blundell, plus beyond music there’s yoga, mindfulness, pilates, and women’s circles. 


Pippa Blundell

Kelburn Garden Party

Kelburn Estate, Largs

4th till 8th July

Previous punters often use the word ‘magical’ to describe Kelburn Garden Party. A versatile festival that is as laid-back or as full-on as you make it. You may start to mistake yourself for a fairy from the glen, surrounded by sound (dance music, folk, funk, disco, dub, jungle, alt pop etc.) from all over the world. This year we’re looking forward to James Holden, HAAi, Athens of the North, Nubiyan Twist, Bikini Body, LVRA, The Twistettes, Conscious Route, neverfine, DJ Storm, Girobabies, and Kohla. Plus a good ole wander roon to find new favourites.


Govan Music Festival

Various venues, Govan

13th till 16th March

Govan Music Festival is back bringing powerful performances from folk, hip hop and classical music to Govan. Festival organiser Paul MacAlindin is building a festival with genuine community roots. Speaking to Paul, he doesn’t need big names to create an impactful festival. It’s about re-establishing a sense of worth in an area that’s had a lot done to it and has had its sense of worth run down over a very long time. Last year, Visit Scotland’s Thistle Awards made them finalists for Outstanding Festival.

School choirs celebrate world music, local singers and dancers showcase Govan’s talent. The Glasgow Barons will première a jazz saxophone piece on Bizet’s Carmen, alongside Mahler’s beautiful Symphony 4  (Fun Fact: the opera opened Govan’s Lyceum in 1898). The Four Barons string quartet plays music from folk to Debussy. You can revel with Freed Up CIC in a drug and alcohol free music and dance night, too.


Stag & Dagger

4th May (Edinburgh ) & 5th May (Glasgow), various venues

Back straddling the M8 over the early May bank holiday weekend, there’s 30 acts to catch in each city with Hamish Hawk, fresh from his victorious night at the Barras, headlining both. What else? There’s loads: Lucia & The Best Boys, Benefits, Fat Dog, Antony Szmierek (Glasgow only), Benefits, Deadletter, and the brilliant Snapped Ankles – it all sounds kinda raucous. Sweet!

Tickets for both

Fresh from playing the Barrowlands, Hamish Hawk plays this years Stag & Dagger Festival

Big City

19th June

Queen’s Park 

Doesn’t a big city like Glasgow deserve a big city festival? Ya know, like the ones you travel to big European cities to see? Big City, curated by Mogwai, has perhaps the genesis of something special, and we’re 100% here for it. The lineup is cracking, as you’d expect from the Mogwai boys, featuring Nadine Shah, Bdrmm, Slowdive, Beak>, Michael Rother!!, Kathryn Joseph, Elisabeth Elektra, Cloth, and Sacred Paws. Mogwai are, of course, headlining and we can’t wait to stot 10 minutes up the road to see them. There’s a Literary Tent in partnership with White Rabbit Books, too. See you there!


Nadine Shah

Hidden Door

10th-11th May

Secret Location, Edinburgh

2024 marks Hidden Door Festival’s 10th anniversary – a decade since they opened up the Market Street vaults in 2014. To celebrate, they are planning a birthday party at a secret location never before used for an event like Hidden Door. They are keeping the location under tabs at the moment but say it’s in the heart of the city (EH1). The organisers are also making plans for a bigger 5-day festival later in 2024, more akin to their usual, with more details on that to follow in the spring.



27th till 30th April 

Dundead celebrates 25 years of DCA with some of the best films from 1999. Hosted and run by DCA, Dundead promises a programme that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Plus DCA Members get £5 tickets! 

Shetland Folk Festival

2nd till 5th May

Scotland’s most northerly folk festival is by some regarded as the grandaddy of folk festivals. For performers, locals and visitors alike, the festival’s sessions are often sighted as amongst the best in the world. Visiting artists, local talent and a warm welcome are all guaranteed. Volunteer run, rather than hotels, visitors stay in the homes of Folk Festival supporters. How about that for hospitality?

Gigs are held all over Shetland and, on the final night, audiences in three large venues are treated to a marathon concert in which everyone has a chance to see all the 15 or so visiting bands which this year include Kirsten Adamson & The Tanagers, Tenement Jazz Band, and Beth Malcolm (BBC MG ALBA Scots Singer of the Year 2022).


Words by Kenny Lavelle, Natalie Jayne Clark, Lara Delmage, and the festivals.

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