Scotland is the land of unkempt yet magical natural attractions. The country with its rolling hills, heather-covered moors, rugged coastline, and deep glens and lochs is a haven for nature lovers and romantics at heart.
And if there is anything that can compete with its aesthetics, it is the country’s rich history and unique culture. Every part of this country’s landscape, be it the moors or the deserted crofts, has history attached to it. The machicolated fortresses, plain castles, and gloomy fortresses speak of battles that proved crucial in the making of this nation.
And if you have already seen the country through the poems of Robert Burns or the songs of Emeli Sandé, it is time for you to check out the festivals of Scotland to know this country has fun: –
1. Edinburgh Fringe
Counted among the largest art festivals not just in Scotland but the world, the Edinburgh Festival lasted 25 days long in the year 2018, featuring over 55,000 performances of 3548 shows (all different) across 317 venues.
Created as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival back in 1947, this festival is organized every year in the month of August in Edinburgh, Scotland. There is no selection committee set to judge the performances, and anyone with any kind of performance is free to take part. The official programme consists of various sections, such as theatre, circus, comedy, physical theatre, dance, musicals, spoken word, cabaret, circus, exhibitions, and so on.
2. Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival
A five-day festival, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival celebrates the national drink of Scotland. What makes this whiskey festival in Scotland exclusive is the fact that it not only allows tourists and visitors a fine chance to sample some of the best malt whiskies, but also enables them to meet the people behind the passionate creation of these spirits in the very place they have originated.
The festival was first held in 1999. However, it is not just the whisky industry that participates in this celebration. Various communities and businesses from around Speyside also hold events, right from family fun days to craft sessions.
Another one among the bigger festivals of Scotland, CowalFest is held in the month of October and can span for more than 10 days. The festival majorly covers the large Cowal peninsula which lies enclosed between the Firth of Clyde in the east and the sea of Loch Fyne in the west.
The CowalFest arranges many treks, some of which cover the coastal hikes along the shores of the two lochs, the highest mountain on the peninsula and also certain areas of the Cowal Way. This walking festival of Scotland also includes torchlight walks, ceilidhs (events comprising of folk music, dance, and storytelling) as well as treasure hunts for children.
4. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Another annual festival that has only increased in popularity over time, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is organized at the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. The festival is popular for having brought together performers from 48 countries around the globe, over the years.
The term “tattoo” has come from the 17th-century Dutch phrase doe den tap toe, meaning ‘turn of the tap’. This was a signal played by a regiment’s Corps of Drums to tavern owners to turn off their ale kegs so that soldiers could retire to bed in time. Held each year in August, this tattoo festival in Scotland comprises of a series of military tattoos performed by Commonwealth, British Armed Forces, and several other military bands.
The 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military tattoo festival of Scotland is expected to focus on the optical inventions of Sir David Brewster, a Scottish physicist from the 19th century.
5. Edinburgh Food Festival
Held in the month of July, Edinburgh Food Festival is undoubtedly one of the special days in Scotland, especially for food lovers. Launched in the year 2014, this festival in Scotland has hosted celebrities such as Neil Forbes, Carina Contini, and Tom Lewis. A free festival, in the year 2018 alone Edinburgh Food Festival hosted more than 30,000 visitors.
Organized in the George Square Gardens, the festival has stallholders offering all varieties of fares right from the good old Fish & Chips to Alandas Gelato. The festival offers a good opportunity for tourists to explore Scottish gastronomies to their hearts’ content.
What’s best is that this festival is five days long!
6. Helensburgh Beer and Gin Festival
Already in its 13th year, the Helensburgh Beer and Gin Festival is a 2-day affair that received around 2500 people last year. Offering a wide selection of cider, beer, and gin, this festival in Scotland is popular with both the locals and tourists. The venue, which is the new Helensburgh Civic Centre overlooking the River Clyde, offers ample outdoor space for bands and bars to comfortably set up.
Other than the main bars, you will also come across various craft gin producers with their pop-up bars attending to guests. What makes this festival stand out is that it only closes down when everything has run out.
If you are someone who loves discovering new places and cultures, then it time for you to take a tour package to Scotland and experience some of its hep fests. It is, after all, through festivals that you get to witness the actual cultural diversity of a place. Time to put your travel boots on!