Festival Fever

  • The Midgie
  • 1 June 2009


Scottish Music Festivals

Each year, the glow of summer brings with it a particularly exciting string of events - the live music festivals! Here’s the low-down on the big Scottish ones you won’t want to miss 


The Wickerman festival was born in 2002 and takes place near Dundrennan, in Dumfries and Galloway. It is so-named because much of the surrounding area was used as locations in the classic British horror film The Wicker Man. And, as you might expect, this festival has a bit of an alternative slant to it - with a dedicated punk tent, an arts and crafts arena and a mini cinema. There is also the legendary burning of the giant 30-foot wicker man at midnight on the last day. And just like the film of the same name, the festival has acquired a mass of cult followers - dare you join them?

When and where: 24-25 July, Dundrennan (Dumfries and Galloway)
Headline acts: The Zutons and The Human League
Your new fave band: The Second Hand Marching Band
You’ll like it if... You’re a little bit on the peculiar side and were a rocker in a past life. 
For tickets: www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk


Belladrum (aka the Tartan Heart Festival) has snowballed in popularity since its humble beginnings back in 2004, when it was a a one-day event that attracted only a few thousand revellers. Nowadays it takes place over a whole weekend and is looked forward to as one of the more relaxed and friendly of the Scottish music festivals. As well as the main event, there is also a Festival Fringe during the two weeks run-up - with local bars and pubs showcasing live bands and getting everyone into the musical spirit.
When and where: 7-8 August, Beauly (Inverness-shire)

Headline acts: Editors and Ocean Colour Scene
Your new fave band: Edward II
You’ll like it if... You’re fond of green tranquil spaces and are a true Scot at heart. 
For tickets: www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk


This is the baby of the bunch, with 2009 being only the fourth RockNess to take place. But in this short space of time it has become an established event on the festival calendar, boasting a reputation for offering an eclectic mix of pop, indie and electronic artists in a laidback atmosphere with just the right amount of silliness. Plus, the beautiful setting means that laying back and admiring the scenery is an attractive option. RockNess strikes the perfect balance between wild party vibe and a more tranquil atmosphere.

When and where: 12-14 June, Inverness
Headline acts: The Flaming Lips and Basement Jaxx
Your new fave band: Chew Lips
You’ll like it if… You’re looking for an all-rounder festival, that’s just the right side of ‘mental’. 
For tickets: www.rockness.co.uk

T in the Park

This is undoubtedly the most iconic of all the Scottish festivals and there’s many folk who can’t see that big red ‘T’ (from sponsors Tennents lager) without getting stupidly excited and having a silly grin spread across their face. It’s also the grand-daddy of the bunch - now a relative O.A.P. on the festival scene having been on the circuit since 1994. T in the Park is popular for its fun-loving party atmosphere and continued support of up-and-coming bands. They have also delivered on the big names since the very beginning, with the opening year headlined by Blur and Oasis.

When and where: 10-12 July, Balado (Perth and Kinross)
Headline acts: Kings of Leon and The Killers
Your new fave band: Mumford and Sons
You’ll like it if... You’re happy in huge crowds and enjoy being at the epicentre of a massive outdoor party.
For tickets: www.tinthepark.com or www.rippingrecords.com

Seasoned festival goer Kirsty Gibbins offers her personal guide of tips 

DO take a reasonable supply of toilet roll - trust me, by midnight on Friday it will be the most valuable commodity in the camp.

DO pack suntan lotion - one of the 'delights' of the Scottish weather is its unpredictability, so don't be caught out.

DO love thy neighbor. OK technically, the great outdoors is a 'free country' but have some consideration for those setting up camp next to you. Smile, be polite and if you're
going to throw up, do it by your own tent.

DO try to avoid setting up camp near to either the toilets or the refuse areas. It might be fresh as a daisy on that first night but come Sunday, the stench is going to travel.

DON'T drink too much. Fine, it's a festival, you want to cut loose with a few cans - but what's the point in spending more than £100 on a ticket just to be unconscious for most of the weekend?

DON'T take your best clothes - the truth of the matter is that very few of us can pull off the 'heroin chic' look, so I wouldn't bother trying.

DON'T take many valuables. There's no point in bling when you can't wash properly for three days, so forget the expensive accessories and just enjoy natural beauty for a change.

DON'T forget to leave a note of your credit card numbers at home to make cancellation easier if they go missing, and carry your mobile number with you so you can use someone else's phone to report and block a card straight away if you lose it.

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival

The lineup at Belladrum gets bigger and more impressive with each passing year: 2018’s event features Amy MacDonald, Frightened Rabbit, Craig Charles, the LaFontaines, Lucy Spraggan, and Tide Lines. This small festival has grown from a one-day, one-stage event and now sprawls over three glorious days with multiple stages…

Belladrum, Inverness

Thu 1 Aug

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed

Fri 2 Aug

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed

Sat 3 Aug

Times vary / Prices to be confirmed

The Wickerman Festival

The Wickerman festival is quite probably the world’s only family-friendly music event inspired by a cult horror film about human sacrifice. Located in the prime Wicker Man territory of Dundrennan in Dumfries & Galloway, the festival’s unique selling point is its annual climactic burning of a bespoke wicker man (sans a…

T in the Park

From relatively humble beginnings, T in the Park has become the acknowledged behemoth of the Scottish festival scene and one of the UK's largest events. In 2015 the festival moved from its longstanding Balado location to the new grounds of Strathallan Castle in Perthshire. Bands appearing in 2016 include The Stone…


You know this one. Awesome line-ups and awesome location make for one of Scotland's favourite music festivals. 2013's line-up includes Example, Plan B, Fatboy Slim, Madness, Basement Jaxx, The Vaccines, Above & Beyond, Madeon, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard, Skream, Benga, Ellie Goulding, The Temper Trap, Alabama 3…

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