Summer Festivals 2014: the best family-friendly festivals
Featuring TweedLove Bike Festival, Doune the Rabbit Hole, West End Festival and Surge
A mardi gras parade and a vertiginous trip to the top of the Forth Rail Bridge feature in these family friendly celebrations. David Pollock rounds up the best festivals to take your brood to.
Part of Homecoming 2014 and now hosting the first ever UK round of the Enduro World Series, TweedLove Bike Festival combines an array of mountain and road biking events amidst the Borders scenery with a bunch of family-friendly events including a family day with events for primary school age kids (Hay Lodge Park, Peebles, Sun 25 May) and a kids’ bike and skills jam (Victoria Park, Peebles, Wed 28 May).
Tweed Valley, Sat 24 May–Sun 8 Jun.
Now in its 19th year, the West End Festival draws together the cultural life and local community of Glasgow’s most fashionable district, marrying church hall events and sewing bees with theatre, comedy, talks and tours. As usual the Mardi Gras-style opening parade on Byres Road on Sun 8 Jun will be a highlight, while this year sees the Cottier Theatre present the Cottier Chamber Project, a diverse classical music program.
Various venues, Glasgow, Sun 1–Sun 29 Jun.
Billed as Scotland’s annual festival of street art, physical theatre and circus, Surge is this year scheduled to coincide with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and its surrounding programme of events, meaning a bigger than ever festival whose visibility will be at its greatest level yet. This will be at its most obvious with Perch, a bold two-day event to open Surge which is part of the Games’ cultural programme. In collaboration with Australia’s Legs On the Wall aerial performance company, Brazil’s Lume Teatro and the Edinburgh-based composer Stephen Deazley, Surge’s coordinators Conflux have created what’s billed as ‘a carnival of falling and flying’ in the heights of Glasgow, with rooftop theatre and a symphony orchestra.
‘It’s an investigation into the metaphorical desire to fly and to fall,’ says Alan Richardson, director of Conflux, ‘and what could be more fun than that? It’s been described as a carousel, a three hundred and sixty degree experience with performances happening around the audiences and in the rooftops above them. Alongside that there will be a simultaneous, live-linked performance in Brazil, with characters appearing on both sides of the world. That’s a lot to do with the subject matter of flight and migration.’
Elsewhere amidst the two-week Surge programme, there will be a blend of new Scottish work and programmed pieces from abroad, both outdoors on the streets of Glasgow and indoors at the Arches, as well as three distinct cabaret-style events. ‘The main thrust is that the works are mostly physical and non-verbal,’ says Richardson, ‘because the likely make-up of this year’s audience will be more international than usual.’ For families, a lot of the outdoor works in particular should present unique experiences in the midst of a memorable month.
Various venues, Glasgow, Sat 19 Jul–Sun 3 Aug. Perch is at Rottenrow Gardens, Glasgow, Sat 19 and Sun 20 Jul.
Child-friendly boutique music festivals rarely come with a line-up more exciting than this, with guests including Jeffrey Lewis and the Jrams, Peatbog Faeries, The Wave Pictures (also playing with Herman Dune’s Stanley Brinks), Heatsick and Japanese psych group Acid Mother’s Temple, as well as excellent local artists including Ela Orleans, Adam Stafford and Woodenbox. There’ll be art, workshops and kids’ activities too.
Cardross Estate, Fri 22–Sun 24 Aug.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge even as its sister crossing is being built, this inaugural Forth Bridges Festival will feature scenic boating and sailing events, exhibitions exploring the history of the Bridges and the chance to take a trip to the top of the Road Bridge. There will also be a one-day culinary event in North and South Queensferry on Sat 6 Sep and a closing fireworks display on Sat 13 Sep.
Firth of Forth, near Edinburgh, Thu 4–Sat 13 Sep.