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18 Best Music Festivals in Scotland to Escape the Norm

By Alice Teacake

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Scotland is famous for rugged landscapes, with soaring mountains, dramatic stretches of coastline, deserted beaches, and deep glistening lochs, whisky, bagpipes, golf, and the Highland Games. What many people don’t often realise, however, is that there are numerous awesome music festivals in Scotland all throughout the year. Yay!

Covering diverse genres of music and appealing to different age groups, tastes, budgets, and traveller types, the varying music festivals in Scotland can be a fabulous addition to any Scotland adventure. Indeed, the Scottish music festivals can be a sole reason to take a trip!

And if you’re a solo female, don’t let the thought of going alone stop you. There’s plenty of ways to meet people on the road and music festivals are a great way to do it!

The Best Music Festivals in Scotland

As well as offering some of the best music festivals in the UK, Scotland hosts some of the most exciting music festivals in Europe. It would even be fair to say that musical events in Scotland are among the best music festivals around the world. Yargh!

You might have heard of some of the more well-known festivals, such as the Future Music Festival, the Glasgow Festival, and the Edinburgh Music Festival. But there are sure to be plenty of surprises in the following list of music festivals.

Best Music Festivals in Scotland

Whether you’re into festival camping, are trying to maintain a budget and would prefer to visit a free music festival, love the sounds of traditional Scottish music, or something else entirely, Scotland’s music scene won’t disappoint. With electronic music festivals, indie music festivals, house music festivals, and more, everyone can have a ball.

The ideal time to go to festivals in Scotland

Looking for winter music festivals or a beach music festival for fun in the summer months?

There’s music festivals in May when the weather is pleasantly warm, music festivals in July with higher temperatures, festivals in August that benefit from the peak summer sunshine, and top festivities for music lovers at all other times of the year. Overall, Scotland’s music festival calendar is packed with fun-filled events!

So, without further ado, add some of these best music festivals in Scotland to your bucket list and prepare to let the good times roll baby.

Doune the Rabbit Hole

Doune the Rabbit Hole has moved away from its original home in Doune but it’s still going strong! The independent arts and music festival attracts many fans of the arts, theatre, and music. Comedy, poetry, food and drinks, and loads of entertainment are all part and parcel of the experience! An awesome weekend is guaranteed.

When? July 17th-19th 2020. Get a ticket here.

Where? Cardross Estate, Stirlingshire

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: Meeting people will be a breeze here. There’s a ton of awesome workshops and interactive sessions to go.

Edinburgh International Festival

One of the most renowned festivals in Scotland, the Edinburgh International Festival boasts amazing classical music as well as a chance to watch the incredible Edinburgh Tattoo. Be awed by traditional sounds and watch an array of colourful and lively performances.

When? 7th – 31st August 2020

Where? Edinburgh

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: The schedule is action-packed and Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities. There’s just so much to see and do here. Check out my Guide to all the Edinburgh Festivals in August here

Best Music Festivals in Scotland

Groove Loch Ness

Set alongside Scotland’s most famous loch, Groove Loch Ness is another great choice for fans of EDM. Replacing the former Rock Ness, Groove Loch Ness promises to be a frenetic and pulsating event. Extra awesome points to you if you get to see the big girl with your own eyes!

When? August 2020 (to be confirmed)

Where? Loch Ness, Inverness

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: Staying around for a few days after the festival to explore the glorious lake in the summertime. I loved Nessie Hunting on my Scotland Highlands trip!

Electronic Fields Festival

*Update: this festival has bit the dust*

If being held in the grounds of a gorgeous castle wasn’t appealing in itself, Electronic Fields Festival boasted a diverse lineup of acts. Arab Strap and Frightened Rabbit were among the bands due to perform at the festival in 2017. A top family-friendly festival in UK, it also appealed to solo travellers, groups of friends, and couples. The fairground offered bags of fun too. Bah, such a shame it’s gone.

When? Alas, it is no more. RIP Electronic Fields Festival. 

Where? Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: A special craft area for you to express your creative side. The perfect place to have some chill out time away from the main festival hustle and bustle!

Best of the West Festival

*2020 Update: Best of the West Festival is no more*

Held in a beautiful castle in a picturesque setting, Best of the West Festival (BOWFest) combined history, culture, music, food and drink, and numerous workshops. It welcomed all for two days of fun. It was pretty perfect for foodies too with a big emphasis on Scottish food.

When? RIP Best of the West Festival

Where? Inveraray Castle

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: Cooking classes and workshops, as well as taking time post celebrations to enjoy the great outdoors.

Best Music Festivals in Scotland

Celtic Connections

A terrific choice for fans of traditional Celtic music, Celtic Connections features all the best sounds from this genre. Spanning a couple of weeks, you can dip in and out of the revelry as you like, so there’s plenty of time to explore the rest of Scotland. Make sure you get up to the Highlands before or after!

When? 14th – 31st January 2021

Where? Glasgow

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: The traditional vibe.

Elrow

Elrow is a hugely popular music festival in Spain, and the international tours bring a slice of popular party-island Ibiza to Scotland. A premier dance music festival, rave fans can don elaborate outfits to get their groove on to big-name DJs. Time to get fancy and put your best rave gear on!

When? 2020 – to be announced

Where? Glasgow

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: If all the partying gets too much, take a break and explore the tropical foliage where you’ll find samba dance troupes, stilt-walkers, fire-breathers, exotic creatures, and more.

Shetland Folk Festival

Attracting a niche interest set, solo travellers attending Shetland Folk Festival can be sure of meeting people with similar interests to themselves. The most northern music festival in the UK features traditional Scottish music and a folksy ambience. The area’s history, heritage, and culture shine through and you can enjoy sessions in local pubs and stages throughout the island. Cool huh?

When? 30th April – 4th May 2020

Where? Shetland

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: The intimate atmosphere with like-minded people.

Best Music Festivals in Scotland

Knockengorroch World Ceilidh

Bit of a mouthful to pronounce! Yet, Knockengorroch World Ceilidh is one of the longest-running outdoor festivals in Scotland. As well as traditional music and dancing, the action-packed festival also offers local food and drinks, live music from around the world, diverse workshops, displays of performing arts, camping areas, movie screenings, and a sauna (yes a sauna!) to list just a few things.

When? 21st – 24th May 2020

Where? Gatehouse, Dumfries and Galloway

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: The silent disco will let you dance like you’ve always wanted to and the workshops offer plenty of chances to meet people with similar interests. No partner needed to join in with the cheerful ceilidh!

Montrose Music Festival

The small town is easy to get around and the eclectic acts are sure to thrill. One of the most diverse music festivals in Scotland, MoFest features a lovely range of bands and musicians spanning several genres. The festival in non-profit, believing in free live music for everyone!

When? To be confirmed – fingers crossed

Where? Montrose

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: Discovering new sounds and grooving to favourite beats in a relaxed and easy-to-navigate town.

Best Music Festivals in Scotland

Solas Festival

Solas Festival is among the top music festivals in Perth. A family-friendly affair, solo travellers won’t feel incredibly out of place in the cheery crowds. Acts include indie, pop, and rock names, and the festival has a distinct artsy vibe too. Enjoy poetry recitals, dance workshops and performances, literary discussions, debates, and philosophical talks. Solas Festival encourages challenging debate with activists, writers and thinkers from across the political, cultural and religious spectrum.

When? 19th – 21st June 2020

Where? Perth

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: The stimulating and intellectual talks and space to share your views.

Eden Festival

Enter a paradisaical world at the Eden Festival, featuring diverse music, cabaret shows, comedy acts, traditional inns, circus performers, chill-out areas, themed attractions, delicious food, and more. Wander from tent to tent and find your tribe. Hell yeah!

When? 11th – 14th June 2020

Where? Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: There’s so much to experience! Tons! It’s boutique and lovely. Enjoy!

Best Music Festivals in Scotland

Tiree Music Festival

While the island of Tiree is generally known for its top-notch surfing conditions, its lively summer music festival brings something else to the area. One of the country’s best small festivals, the intimate vibe, varying performances, and cool entertainment make this a great choice for people who don’t relish being in the middle of a huge crowd.

When? 10th – 12th July 2020

Where? Isle of Tiree

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: A small, friendly festival means it’s easy to strike up a conversation here. Plan a few extra days to chill on the beaches and explore the verdant countryside. This place is ace!

Kelburn Garden Party

Head to the grounds of a grand historic 13th-century castle and be enchanted as the gardens spring to life with an assortment of bands and performers. Wander through the woodlands as the sounds drift through the air and pack a picnic for a magical day out. Pure bliss!

When? 3rd – 6th July 2020

Where? Kelburn

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: Exploring nature while listening to soothing sounds.

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

It’s a classic! Events are held around the Scottish capital, providing the chance to explore as you move from stage to stage. Global names can be found among the headliners, and there’s plenty of local talent to appreciate too. The youthful feel appeals to many and the festivities last for just over a week. Go be sophisticated.

When? 17th – 26th July 2020

Where? Edinburgh

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: The relaxed atmosphere and discovering Edinburgh between performances.

The best places to stay in Edinburgh Scotland

Here are the top 3 options for budget, midrange and luxury travellers.

TRNSMT

A huge rock and indie music festival on the Scottish calendar, TRNSMT hosts big names from the music industry. The summer music festival’s lineup for 2017 included Radiohead, Biffy Clyro, Belle and Sebastian, and Kasabian.

When? 10th – 12th July 2020

Where? Glasgow

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: Glasgow Green is easy to access and the festival welcomes some big names!

 

Best Music Festivals in Scotland

ButeFest

Set on the Isle of Bute, this is one of newest music festivals in Scotland, starting in 2015. The island springs to life for the celebrations; attracting families, couples, friends, and solo adventurers. Both day and camping tickets are available. It’s really family friendly, so expect a chill atmosphere here.

When? 24th – 27th July 2020

Where? Isle of Bute, 33 miles from Glasgow!

Solo Female Travellers Will Love: The island is just a short ferry trip from Glasgow and the festival ground is just a short walk from the ferry terminal, ideal for those planning on camping.

Start planning your Scottish adventures and don’t forget to include some of the awesome music festivals all around the country. What other music festival in Scotland would you recommend, and why would they be great for solo female explorers?

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Best Music Festivals in Scotland

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About Alice Teacake

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I'm a feminist British kickass solo female traveller who believes in women facing their fears, pushing their boundaries and reaching their full potential through solo adventure travel! I have been featured in Nat Geo Traveller UK, Lonely Planet, the Daily Mail and Buzzfeed and spoken about solo female travel safety on BBC One, whilst working with a bunch of awesome brands. Follow me for travel advice and inspiration, so you can go forth and challenge yourself to reach your own personal goals!

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18 Best Music Festivals in Scotland to Escape the Norm

  • I had no idea that there are so many cool festivals going on in Scotland! You’ve made me write down quite a few on my list of things to do for next year. Eden Festival must be my favorite.

  • Wow! Scotland does really enjoy music, apparently.
    I’m planning a Euro Trip around December or March. Might as well try the UK. Would love to attend Elrow if I travel in March. :)

  • Back in the day, my best friend and I loved to go to music festivals! Nothing says summer more than a road trip, good food, and some awesome music. Makes me wonder why we ever stopped. x

  • This is really a great list of music festivals! Had no idea that there were so many in Scotland. I’d love to attend Groove Loch Ness and TRNSMT.