Our guide to Scotland’s summer festivals

Rihanna is performing at this year's T in the Park. Picture: Getty
Rihanna is performing at this year's T in the Park. Picture: Getty
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ROCK, comedy, kino-ceilidh… whatever your passion, our guide to Scotland’s summer festivals has it covered.

IF YOU LIKE POP STARS

T IN THE PARK

It’s an intense and hedonistic experience which appeals most to the younger or the more devoted lovers of popular music, but astute and ambitious programming, as much as its size, has propelled T in the Park to near the very top of the UK festival league. Headliners at this year’s 20th anniversary bash are a mixed bunch, blending sleek pop, internationally beloved folk-rock and trad arena indie-rock.

Who’s playing? Rihanna, Mumford & Sons, The Killers, Snoop Dogg, Alt-J, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

When? 12-14 July Where? Balado, near Kinross

How much? Weekend: £184-205. Day: £75-82.50

www.tinthepark.com

If you like this, try this: Rockness (7-9 June, www.rockness.co.uk), Wickerman (26-27 July, www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk), Belladrum (2-3 August, www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk), Doune the Rabbit Hole (22-25 August, dounetherabbithole.co.uk)

IF YOU LIKE FOLK & ROOTS

HEBRIDEAN CELTIC FESTIVAL

Set in a unique spot on the Isle of Lewis and bolstered by fringe events across the island, this award-winning long weekender makes a virtue of both its location and a guest roster which is more heavily peppered with big names than most. This year’s headline will be an increasingly rare set from Van Morrison, one of only a handful in the UK.

Who’s playing? Van Morrison, Lau, Karine Polwart, Capercaillie, Battlefield Band, Red Hot Chilli Pipers

When? 17-20 July

Where? Lews Castle, Stornoway

How much? Weekend: £57-75. Day: £25-34 (child prices also available)

www.hebceltfest.com

If you like this, try this: Orkney Folk Festival (23-26 May, www.orkneyfolkfestival.com), Northern Roots (31 May to 2 June, www.northernrootsfestival.co.uk), Southern Fried (19-21 July, www.southernfriedfestival.co.uk), Stonehaven Folk Festival (11-14 July, stonehavenfolkfestival.co.uk), Shetland Folk Festival (2-5 May, www.shetlandfolkfestival.com), Mull of Kintyre Music Festival (22-25 August, www.mokfest.com)

IF YOU LIKE FILM

DUNOON FILM FESTIVAL

Making use of Dunoon’s freshly renovated arts space the Burgh Hall, this new “kino-ceilidh” will be curated by Allan Hunter and Matt Lloyd of Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Short Film Festival, respectively. The programme is still under wraps, although the emphasis will be on Scottish cinema of the past and present, with guest appearances promised.

When? 14-16 June

Where? Burgh Hall, Dunoon

How much? Prices vary

www.burghhalldunoon.com

If you like this, try this: Loch Ness Film Festival (26-28 July, lochnessfilmfestival.co.uk), Dundead (3-5 May, twitter.com/DunDead), Southside Film Festival (17-19 May, www.southsidefilmfestival.net), Dead By Dawn (25-28 April, www.deadbydawn.co.uk), Edinburgh International Film Festival (19-30 June, www.edfilmfest.org.uk)

IF YOU LIKE COMEDY

HAPPYNESS

The old line about comedy being the new rock’n’roll is maybe best applied these days in terms of commerce, in that both are mature industries which can hoover up all-ages audiences if the stars of the medium are playing. After Edinburgh and Glasgow, Inverness is the next Scottish city not to miss this trick, gathering more than 30 national celebrities and local talents for five days of shows in May.

Who’s playing? Dylan Moran (above), Alan Davies, Janey Godley, Jenny Éclair, Arthur Smith

When? 23-26 May

Where? Various venues, Inverness

How much? Prices vary

www.happy-ness.co.uk

If you like this, try this: Funny in Falkirk (19-30 July, www.funnyinfalkirk.com) and, obviously, the Edinburgh Fringe (2-26 August, www.edfringe.com)

IF YOU LIKE BOOKS

BORDERS BOOK FESTIVAL

One of Scotland’s foremost boutique book festivals, the Borders Book Festival makes a good fist of balancing the literary and the celebrity, with a healthy range of educational and kids’ events on the side. It also features the award of the annual Sir Walter Scott prize for historical fiction.

Who’s appearing? Hilary Mantel, William McIlvanney, Kate Mosse, Sam Leith, Joanna Lumley, AN Wilson

When? 13-16 June

Where? Harmony Garden, Melrose

How much? Prices vary

www.bordersbookfestival.org

If you like this, try this: Ullapool Book Festival (10-12 May, www.ullapoolbookfestival.co.uk), Boswell Book Festival (17-19 May, www.boswellbookfestival.co.uk) and, of course, Edinburgh International Book Festival (10-26 August, www.edbookfest.co.uk)

IF YOU LIKE ART

LEITHLATE

Scotland’s art festival scene extends to two major international events, one in each of the major cities, and a range of cosy, smaller scale arts and crafts based weekends here and there. Within this landscape LeithLate is unique, a one-night crawl around the galleries and arts spaces of newly shabby-boho Leith, an explosion of vibrant grassroots contemporary 
art highlighting one-off happenings and continuing shows.

Who’s appearing? To be confirmed

When? 13 June

Where? Various venues, Edinburgh

How much? To be confirmed

www.leithlate.co.uk

If you like this, try this: Edinburgh Annuale (7-23 June, www.annuale.org), Spring Fling (25-27 May, www.spring-fling.co.uk), Pittenweem Arts Festival (3-11 August, www.pittenweemartsfestival.co.uk), Coast Festival (24-26 May, www.coastfestival.org.uk), 3 Harbours Arts Festival (1-9 June, www.3harbours.co.uk)

IF YOU LIKE IDEAS

ARIKA EPISODE 5: HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT

A varied range of festivals in Scotland are there specifically to invite active engagement, but none of them is quite like Arika’s events (Episode 4 is already under way this weekend at Tramway in Glasgow, concluding today). Themed with dissertation-like rigour around a certain idea, they combine meditations upon grand and vital themes from artists, performers, filmmakers and experts – in the case of Episode 5, the politics and sociology of gender and sexuality.

When? 24-26 May

Where? Tramway, Glasgow

How much? Festival pass: £14. Evening pass: £6. Day events are free and unticketed

If you like this, try this: Glasgow Science Festival (6-16 June, www.glasgowsciencefestival.org.uk), Festival of Dangerous Ideas (13-21 June, www.facebook.com/dangerousideas), Tectonics (11-12 May, www.tectonicsfestival.com)

IF YOU LIKE CLASSICAL MUSIC

ST MAGNUS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL

Established with the help of local resident Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in 1977, the St Magnus Festival (named after the cathedral where it’s partly staged) blends work by experienced composers and young international talents with the playing of esteemed orchestras and its own fringe festival, Magfest.

Who’s playing? BBC Symphony Orchestra, Christine Brewer, Hebrides Ensemble, Alexander Vedernikov

When? 20-28 June

Where? Various venues, Orkney

How much? Prices vary

If you like this, try this: East Neuk Festival (3-7 July, www.eastneukfestival.com), Mendelssohn on Mull (1-6 July, www.mendelssohnonmull.com), Music at Paxton Festival (19-28 July, musicatpaxton.co.uk)

IF YOU LIKE SCENERY

KELBURN GARDEN PARTY

A boutique music festival with an outlook as distinctly off-the-wall as the psychedelic mural adorning nearby Kelburn Castle, this unique event – which features bands through the day and DJs into the night – is set in a wooded glade a short walk from the seaside resort of Largs.

Who’s playing? Mr Scruff (right), Trojan Soundsystem, Conquering Animal Sound, Hector Bizerk, Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate, Hidden Orchestra

When? 6-7 July

Where? Kelburn Castle, near Largs

How much? Weekend: £69

If you like this, try this: Tiree Music Festival (20-21 July, tireemusicfestival.co.uk), Harris Arts Festival (1-17 August, www.harrisarts.org).

IF YOU LIKE JAZZ

GLASGOW JAZZ FESTIVAL

Now in its 26th year and yet to release its full programme for 2013, Glasgow Jazz Festival receives attention beyond traditional jazz fans for its strong programming of big-name artists whose styles cross boundaries and traditions. This year sees old-timers Burt Bacharach and Georgie Fame, gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama (above) and “terror jazz” trio Ames Room appear.

Who’s playing? Burt Bacharach, Georgie Fame and Three Line Whip, Blind Boys of Alabama, The Ames Room, Matthew Halsall/Gogo Penguin

When? 26-30 June

Where? Various venues, Glasgow

How much? Prices vary

www.jazzfest.co.uk

If you like this, try this: Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival (19-28 July, www.edinburghjazzfestival.com), Isle of Bute Jazz Festival (3-6 May, www.butejazz.com

IF YOU LIKE STAYING IN THE CITY

SURGE

Billed as Scotland’s festival of street arts, physical theatre and circus, Surge 2013 hasn’t announced its programme as yet, although last year’s event featured a week of inventive theatre-bound and site-specific work from Scottish and international companies, as well as a workshop programme.

Who’s playing? To be confirmed

When? 22-28 July

Where? Various venues, Glasgow

How much? Prices vary

www.conflux.co.uk

If you like this, try this: Edinburgh Mela (31 August to 1 September, www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk), Merchant City Festival (24-28 July, www.merchantcityfestival.com), West End Festival (31 May to 1 June, 
www.westendfestival.co.uk), Southside Festival (18-19 May, southsidefestival.org.uk). «