After years of scaled-back events and uncertainty, the Scottish festival calendar is back in full swing – and revellers are spoiled for choice with a full slate of unmissable live experiences.

Here are some top picks ...


A NEWCOMER In the summer festival scene, the Midnight Sun Weekender will take place from Thursday 25 to Saturday 27 May in the grounds of Lews Castle on the Isle of Lewis, with revellers preparing for three days of artfully curated music at one of the most idyllic locations in the UK.

The festival is a collaborative event organised by Charlie Clark – co-founder of successful Scottish indie band Astrid and currently head booker for Glasgow institution Nice’n’Sleazy – and Ian MacArthur, a Scottish chartered accountant and barrister, who has also worked for Virgin Records and The Big Issue.

Charlie says the Midnight Sun Weekender will be “the first ever major pop and rock Festival to be held in the Western Isles” and be held annually.

The first two nights already boast the presence of rock icon Chrissie Hynde with The Pretenders on a UK exclusive headline appearance.

The Herald:

Following-up on Friday night will be a Scottish act of equally formidable pedigree, Primal Scream, with a choice line-up of acts across the whole three days, including Britpop favourites Ocean Colour Scene, former Orange Juice founder Edwyn Collins and indie-electronica experts Public Service Broadcasting.




THE National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS) will be joined by the classical music stars of tomorrow, gathering from all across Scotland to perform alongside internationally renowned soloists and conductors.

The NYOS Symphony Orchestra first welcomes multi-award winning Scottish guitar virtuoso Sean Shibe, a celebrated and versatile soloist with a critically acclaimed discography, who is building a reputation as one of the world’s leading players.

The Herald: Scottish guitar virtuoso Sean ShibeScottish guitar virtuoso Sean Shibe (Image: NYOS)

Sean will perform Lotta Wennäkoski’s guitar concerto Susurrus at concerts in Glasgow and Edinburgh, presented as part of the 2022-23 season.

The orchestra will also perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 7, a boundary-pushing early 20th Century masterpiece. The orchestra will be conducted by the exceptional Catherine Larsen-Maguire. Catherine has a deep insight into the life of an orchestral musician, having spent 10 years as Principal Bassoonist for the Komische Opera Berlin.

Also in April, NYOS Development Orchestra perform Grieg’s much-loved Piano Concerto in A Minor with the exceptional young Scottish pianist Ethan Loch, a BBC Young Musician 2022 finalist.


NYOS Symphony Orchestra

Full Price (£20) tickets for just £14, available until Thursday 2 March.

Use Offer Code ‘SPRING23’ at box office to redeem at Usher Hall Box Office or Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Box Office.

NYOS Development Orchestra

Full Price (£18) tickets for just £12, available until Thursday 2 March.

Use Offer Code ‘SPRING23’ at box office to redeem at Perth Concert Hall Box Office.



THE Govan Music Festival takes place from March 15-19 and blends grassroots, folk, world, orchestral and hip hop with The Glasgow Barons, Govan’s orchestra.

Local school choirs will perform Jennifer Andrew’s celebrated song Renew, while singer-songwriters will celebrate stories behind Govan’s new murals amidst local dance troupes in Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance!, for Glasgow Life’s Artists in Communities.

Anna Clyne’s cello concerto Dance also receives its Scottish premiere at Symphomania in the Pearce Institute with Barber’s Adagio and Sibelius 2 featuring, conducted by Paul MacAlindin, and accompanied by the cellist Bartholomew Lafollette.

The Herald:

At the Grand Ole Opry, The Glasgow Barons ensemble present their latest Steg G commission DEMONS with a stellar hip hop line up, including LOKI, Solareye, Empress, Mccroy.

Low cost and also free tickets are available on Eventbrite.



OVER the weekend of June 9, 10 and 11 more than 100 ceramics will come together to transform the grounds of Scone Palace into a huge, three-day celebration of all things ceramic and pottery.

 Now in its 27th year, Potfest Scotland is the largest ceramics event north of the border, attracting exhibitors and visitors alike from throughout the UK, as well as across mainland Europe. Work on show will range from fine, intricate jewellery to large-scale garden sculpture, functional domestic ware to, figurative pieces, contemporary styles to traditional techniques – all made by the artist who will attend.

 Potfest Scotland is open to the public from 10am until 4:30pm each day.

Admission also includes access to Scone Palace’s beautiful grounds and gardens. Adult tickets £8, accompanied children are free.




THE wonderful Doune The Rabbit Hole festival returns from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 July. Secure your place now for this intimate, independent music and arts festival located amidst the glorious ancient oak trees of the Cardross Estate at Port of Menteith with limited early bird tickets available on the festival’s website.

Weekend tickets include entry for three days plus standard camping – and you can pay by monthly instalments. Previous highlights have included Teenage fanclub, Sleaford Mods and Tim Burgess DJ sets. Keep an eye on the website as this year’s headlinders as announced.



THE first names for this year’s Otherlands Festival have been announced as organisers prepare for a return to Scone Palace.

The three-day festival made its debut last year, with thousands of revellers camping at the site on the edge of Perth. Organisers have said this year’s event will be “bigger and better” than last year, promising music, art and culture.

Returning to Scone Palace between August 11 and 13, the first tickets will go on pre-sale this Friday at noon. General sale opens at noon on Monday.

New UK club/garage duo Overmono, who recently released their debut album and will tour North America and Australia in March and April, are among those taking to the stage.

Techno sensation Skin on Skin, who is performing in Ice Factory in Perth next Saturday, and MOBO award winner Nia Archives join the list of performers.

Grammy-nominated producer and DJ Hudson Mohawke, who has produced songs for Kanye West and Drake, will perform in his only Scottish date of 2023.



BEACON Arts Centre in Greenock is marking its 10th birthday with a year-long programme of theatre, comedy and music celebrating the venue. Stand-out moments will include an appearance from Lulu, who will share untold stories and her favourite memories from her decades-long career, and multiple preview performances of the National Theatre of Scotland’s ‘Kidnapped’ as it starts its UK tour.

The Herald: 0s megastar Paul Young will wow Inverclyde fans at the Beacon Arts Centre0s megastar Paul Young will wow Inverclyde fans at the Beacon Arts Centre (Image: Watford Palace Theatre)

80s icon Paul Young will also bring his Behind the Lens tour to Inverclyde, singing some of his greatest hits, meeting fans and sharing some of his personal highlights.

Later this month, comedian Milton Jones will return to the Beacon stage, where he will be joined by three top Scottish comedians.

In March, Still Game star Paul Riley will host an ‘evening with’ event called ‘Auld Before My Time’ where he will look back at his 30-year career with opportunities for the audience to ask him anything they like.

Musical tributes will come from the touring Bowie Experience and Magic of the Beatles shows, and the Beacon Jazz Club, which takes place on the last Thursday of every month, will celebrate its first anniversary with a ‘World of the Gods’ performance from the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.

Beacon Arts Centre strives to provide a contemporary venue for the Inverclyde community that makes the arts accessible to all. The Beacon opened the doors in 2013, providing a new home for the Greenock Arts Guild.