The top line attractions at Edinburgh’s festival of traditional music are American singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, and Northumbian smallpipes maestro Kathryn Tickell, appearing with her band The Darkening. But dig deeper into the programme and there are gems galore. Fans of that place where jazz and folk meet will enjoy the performance by young Scottish cellist Juliette Lemoine, who appears at the Traverse Theatre with a stellar backing band including 2022 Mercury Prize-nominated jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie. Veteran pipers Rona Lightfoot and Allan Macdonald make a welcome appearance and at the quirkier end of the programme are folk-punk musician Alicia Edelweiss (pictured below) and non-binary Swedish nyckelharpa player Fredy Clue. Threaded throughout the musical performances are other events, including storytelling sessions, ceilidhs, a screening of a documentary about Celtic fusion legends Shooglenifty, and a talk about the great Nan Shepherd, poet and author of cult nature book The Living Mountain.

Various venues, Edinburgh (until May 8)

The Herald:

Ullapool Book Festival

Launched in 2005, the Ullapool Book Festival organisers have announced that this year’s event will be the last. Honorary President Chris Dolan has promised it will go out with a bang, however, and has assembled a line-up to help light the fuse. Among those scheduled to appear this year are poets Michael Pederson, Don Paterson and Janette Ayachi, authors Doug Johnstone, Kirstin Innes and Alan Bissett, and Angus Roxburgh, journalist, broadcaster and former Moscow correspondent for the BBC. Last but not least, there’s a session with historian Sir Tom Devine. Hang on his every word if you have any interest in Scotland’s past, present or future.

Ullapool Village Hall, Ullapool (May 5-6)

Perth Festival of the Arts

An eclectic line-up comes to the Fair City in May, with big names aplenty – Richard E Grant and Jools Holland are appearing – as well as a mouth-watering roster of Scottish talent which encompasses rock, pop, jazz, classical, opera, visual art and comedy. Among the highlights are the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (performing with the breath-taking Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers), chart-topping Scots-Egyptian instrumentalists the Ayoub Sisters, comedian Iain Stirling, and vocal ensemble the Marian Consort. They will perform a programme of Renaissance polyphony alongside a new composition by fast-rising young Scottish composer Electra Perivolaris. Two innovative showcases are worth a mention as well: Scotland Trending gives new singer-songwriters a platform, including some from the Popular Music course of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Various venues, Perth (May 18-27)

Orkney Folk Festival

Centred on Stromness and Kirkwall and offering 47 events in 18 venues, the Orkney Folk Festival welcomes performers from across the UK as well as from the US, Canada, Norway, Sweden and Ireland. Together with 28 Orcadian musicians, they’re part of a muscular line-up for the well-liked festival which for its 40th edition has an extra special star turn in the form of veteran folk supergroup, Capercaillie. They’ll be playing a sort of Greatest Hits package at Kirkwall’s Pickaquoy Centre Arena accompanied by an orchestra composed of local high school students. Other highlights include Elephant Sessions, the Kris Drever Band, Breabach, Erika Shearer and Hazel Wrigley, homegrown quartet Fara and the excellent Nordic Fiddlers Bloc.

Various venues, Orkney (May 25-28)

Edinburgh International Children’s Festival

With 14 productions from 11 countries aimed at children from age two to 15, Edinburgh’s highly regarded festival for young people covers everything from chuckle-worthy circus larks to darker, chewier fare. Among the highlights are two new Scottish commissions – Protest, a play about finding your own voice by poet and writer Hannah Lavery (also currently the Edinburgh Makar), and Too Close To The Sun (pictured below), from Barrowland Ballet, which uses the legend of Icarus to explore the climate crisis through the eyes of a young girl. Elsewhere check out Irish production A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, which combines puppetry, live music and video projection; Bully Bully, about childish, tantrum-throwing world leaders; and Franco-Canadian production The Problem With Pink, which tackles gender stereotypes.

Various venues, Edinburgh (May 27-June 4)

The Herald:

Hidden Door Festival

Having moved on from its last temporary venue in the Old Royal High School, Edinburgh’s innovative and pleasingly peripatetic Hidden Door festival takes up residency in one of the capital’s most Marmite-y buildings – a hexagonal 1970s creation in smoked brown glass which was latterly the home of a banking group. As ever there’s a wonderful blend of music, poetry, performance and visual art, with headline slots going to Mercury Prize-nominated indie rockers Porridge Radio and alt-folk fave Rozi Plain (pictured below). But there’s plenty more to explore across the festival’s five day duration.  

15 Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh (May 31-June 4)

The Herald:

Eden Festival

Disco divas Sister Sledge headline Moffat’s crowd-pleasing summer festival this year. Also on the bill are ragga star General Levy, Scottish folk icons Shooglenifty, Huey Morgan (now a DJ on BBC Radio 6 Music but previously frontman with 1990s New York rappers The Fun Lovin’ Criminals) and dance duo Stanton Warriors. Oh, and don’t miss Elvana, who cover Elvis songs in the style of Nirvana – and Nirvana songs in the style of the King. There are camping tickets available for those who want to turn it into a music-themed mini-break.

Raehills Meadows, Moffat (June 8-11)

Glasgow International Jazz Festival

There’s a sumptuous line-up for this year’s festival which as ever showcases the best of new Scottish and British jazz talent alongside guest turns from the likes of soul legend Geno Washington and San Francisco-based trombonist Steve Turre. A pioneer of the use of seashells, particularly the conch, Turre has collaborated in the past with Carlos Santana, Pharoah Sanders, Herbie Hancock and Rahsaan Roland Kirk among other stellar names and appears in Glasgow with his sextet. Among the homegrown talent are Graham Costello’s Strata, the Nimbus Sextet, the Helena Kay Band, Fergus McCreadie (co-headlining with fellow pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs) and fellow Scottish Album of the Year award nominee Seonaid Aitken, appearing here with her quintet. Representing London’s burgeoning nu-jazz scene are trumpeter, DJ and label boss Matthew Halsall, multi-instrumentalist producer CKTRL, and saxophonist and bandleader Camilla George. Elsewhere check out Radiohead Reimagined (Thom Yorke and Co redone by a 10-piece jazz band) or enjoy a little ‘jazzstep’ courtesy of Johnny Woodham, aka Jsphynx.

Various venues, (June 14-18)

Borders Book Festival

Now celebrating 20 years in existence, the ever-popular book festival in the beautiful Borders town of Melrose has a typically varied offering. Fans of politics will enjoy the appearances by rock and roll psephologist Sir John Curtice, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, author and journalist Martin Wolf (chief economics commentator for the Financial Times) and former Labour MP and noted diarist Chris Mullin. For literary and genre fiction, check out the appearances by Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart (pictured below), Booker shortlisted Graeme Macrae Burnet, Irish novelist Sebastian Barry, crime writer Doug Johnstone, and husband and wife duo Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman, who write historical crime fiction as Ambrose Parry. Sprinkling a little stardust over the programme are comedian Rory Bremner and actor Paterson Joseph, promoting his debut novel The Secret Diaries Of Charles Ignatius Sancho. Lots to enjoy, in other words.

Harmony Garden, Melrose (June 15-18)

The Herald: