Once the novelty of £1 pints, sub crawls, pub golf, and stealing traffic cones has worn off – it’s time to prepare for the year adequately with our calendar of cultural events.
Once Freshers’ Week is well and truly over, it’s time to take a step back and have a proper look at the different things going on in the city you’ve dedicated the next 4 years of your life to, and trust us when we say, there’s lots going on. If you’re Edinburgh based, why not fully explore Edinburgh and get behind the scenes in the city’s annual architecture and heritage festival, Doors Open Festival (23-24 Sep). For the music lovers in Glasgow, there’s Tenement Trail Festival (30 Sep), a music festival taking place over one day in 9 different venues across the city, perfomers include Clean Cut Kid and Louis Berry.
We’re fully aware that October is all about Halloween, but if you want to take a break from planning your kick ass costume, have a look at these events on offer. In Glasgow, the city is having it’s very own Tequila Festival! (21 Oct) Why? Because we love Tequila! The festival takes place at the Barras from 1pm – 11pm (that’s a long day of Tequila drinking). In Edinburgh, the Samhuinn Fire Festival (31 Oct) marks the beginning of winter with this special evening of costumes and fire dancing. If Halloween isn’t your thing but you still love a bit of horror, Psycho Live (26 Oct) is on at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Oh – and don’t forget Oktoberfest! Taking place in both cities.
On the 5th November head to Glasgow Green for a top notch firework display, and Meadowbank Stadium or Calton Hill if you’re ‘Burgh’ bound. Also – it’s St Andrews Day (30 Nov), the one time a year opportunity to get into the Edinburgh Castle for free for a cheeky wander. In Glasgow, there’s loads going on, including a Pizza and Prosecco Festival (4 Nov) at SWG3, a Festival of Burlesque (9-12 Nov) at Riding Room, and the grand launch of Glasgow Loves Christmas on 19th November.
Edinburgh is the place to be at this time of the year. It goes full hog. You can stuff your face with mulled wine and chocolate crepes at the Christmas markets on George Street then feel a tad nauseous on the carousel in East Princes Street Gardens after. Glasgow is pretty good as well mind you, with it’s Christmas markets at St Enoch Square and the Big Wheel in George Square. If you’re torn between the two cities for Hogmanany though, Edinburgh is where it’s at. The world famous Hogmanay celebrations are a sight to behold.
We’re now entering into the second half of the academic year, which means Dry January can ‘get tae’ as you’ve already had plenty of time to practice building up a strong resilience to alcohol. Instead, look ahead to Burns Night with celebrations galore in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. The people of Glasgow and Edinburgh, and beyond unite for a night of Scottish revelry, nonsense and classic debauchery all in the name of the late, great radical poet, Robert Burns. An evening dedicated to feasting on traditional Scottish foods like Haggis, Neeps and Tatties followed up by some Whisky sloshed tumblers. With authentic Ceilidh jigs and folk music rounding up the night.
February is by far the worst. It’s cold, you’re skint, there’s nothing really on, and if you’re single don’t even get us started on Valentines Day! But if you can drag yourself out of bed for 9am lectures, then surely you can drag yourself into town for the Glasgow Film Festival (21 Feb-4 Mar) or the Glasgow Tattoo (9-10 Feb). Alternatively head along to the Edinburgh Student Arts Festival, a platform for student artists to showcase their work to the artistic community and public.
Now that you’ve managed to get through February, we can all be on top form again as Glasgow really starts to come to life again in March. We’ve got the International Comedy Festival (8-25 Mar), The Glasgow Short Film Festival (14-28 Mar), and the Glasgow book festival Aye Write! Head over to the capital for Scotland’s biggest celebration of reggae, dub and sound system culture, Wee Dub Festival (3-5 Mar), is back for another weekend packed with quality acts and top class vibes. Also, don’t forget it’s St. Paddy’s Day in March. You ain’t been to no party till you’ve been to a St. Paddy’s Party!
It’s time to geek-out in Edinburgh in time for Edinburgh Comic Con (14-15 Apr) and the Edinburgh International Science Festival (1-15 Apr). If you’re through in Glasgow you can go a bit more cultural with the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (20 Apr – 7 May). It’s also the month when Arcade Fire and Harry Styles are performing in the city.
For all you techno junkies, May is the month that brings us the Riverside Festival. With the likes of Sven Vath and Optimo being the highlight of previous years, this is one event you should definitely be adding to your electronic calender (see what we did there). We understand that you’re right smack in the middle of exam and revision season, so we don’t want to distract you away from that too much. But – we do understand you also need a little break now and again, so check out what The Improverts are up to – they are a long-running improvisational comedy troupe, put on yearly by the Edinburgh University Theatre Company. And they usually put on some pretty great shows around exam time to ease the pain a little. If you’re looking for something a little different, check out Beltane Fire Festival (3 May). A fiery modern interpretation of the ancient Celtic celebration of Beltane to mark the arrival of summer.
It’s Summer! You’re free! You did it! Hoorah! Crap – it’s raining! Well, fret not, because there’s tonnes going on in the capital this month and festival season is all kicking off. You’ve got the Edinburgh International Film Festival (20 Jun – 1 Jul), Leith Festival (9-17 Jun) and the Edinburgh International Magic Festival (TBC) getting you in the swing of things. With your new found freedom, why not be a true country bumpkin head up to the Royal Highland Show (21-24 Jun) in Ingliston. We also recommed making your way to Dumfries to one of Scotland’s largest festivals, Eden Festival (7-10 Jun)
College and university is completely finished for the summer and there’s some top notch music festivals for you to really wind down to. We have the return of TRNSMT in Glasgow Green which promises to top last year’s debut, or take a trip dow Kelburn Garden Party for some psychedelic adventures. If you’re looking for some smooth jazz, July is the month for the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (13-22 Jul), or if you want to chill out with a fine beverage, head to the west end in Glasgow for the West End Beer Festival.
It’s the cream of the crop for festival season and cultural events. It’s the month that a lot of people patiently wait the whole year out for, the Edinbugh Festival Fringe. It’s also the month of the Edinburgh Art Festival, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and the Foodies Festival. It would be impossible to have nothing to do. August will fly by, and then, before you know it, would you look at that, it’s September again. Freshers’ are rolling in by the thousands for sub crawls, £1 Jagerbombs and cone heads. We know you’re new to our two biggest cities, but once you’ve found your feet you’ll see that each month is brimming with cultural activities to really sink your teeth into.