This year our great events and festivals are conquering the online world to bring to you the best virtual, digital and hybrid events, so you don’t have to miss out.
Throughout the year Scotland’s cities, towns and villages host eclectic and welcoming events of all genres, interests and themes that everyone can get involved in and enjoy. From adrenaline pumping sporting events, and captivating storytelling pop-ups, to toe-tapping music festivals, and educational talks and workshops, there’s plenty to explore.
Here are just some we know you’ll love, but keep checking back for more additions.
Arts & Culture
- Gather around the virtual ‘campfire’ with Marjolein Robertson, a comedian, storyteller and Edinburgh Festival veteran. Join her on Monday, Thursday and Friday evenings as she live streams Shetland folktales and shares hilarious stories about her experiences performing.
- Join in with the Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s online series featuring poetry, storytelling, music and children’s workshops.
- Settle down for a cosy night in with Scottish Opera, who have a growing collection of films available to watch for free on their website. From romantic comedy with a game-show twist Cosi fan tutte, to gripping workplace drama The Narcissistic Fish, there’s something to suit all tastes. Streaming now.
- LGBTI+ Elders Social Dance Club; 7 Feb – 7 Mar – Dust off your dancing shoes, charge your glasses and get ready for ONLINE DANCE CLUB! We might not be able to meet in person but we can use the magic of technology to connect, chat and boogie.
- Wigtown Book Festival – This event is every book enthusiast’s dream, with hundreds of like-minded people, as well as authors, poets, literary geniuses and more. Delve into the captivating online festival which covered two main themes of Resilience and Connection. As well as live online speaker events, the 2020 festival featured its usual mix of art exhibitions, film events, music and performance.
- The Tartan Noir Show – get sucked into the world of crime writing with Theresa Talbot in these gripping and intense weekly podcasts. Exploring the very best of the genre, the podcasts will feature some incredible works from a variety of renowned names, such as Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Ian Rankin and many more.
- Doors Open Days – Join in with Scotland’s biggest free festival of architecture which will be bring a whole host of tours, lectures, DIY learning events and more.
- Tune in to the digital concert of Nicola Benedetti performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra recorded at Perth Concert Hall. Head over to their YouTube Channel, or Facebook, to watch.
- Bloody Scotland – 17 – 19 September 2021. Scotland’s crime writing festival is back and is bringing to you an online programme of various events, including their biggest ever panel of 27 authors across 5 continents.
- StAnza – 6-14 March 2021. A digital festival with a few live exhibitions, enjoy readings, round table events, interactive poetry installations and more to celebrate Scotland’s magnificent culture and artistic talent.
- Chinese New Year – February. 2021 marks the Chinese Year of the Ox – and in a unique Scottish twist – the Year of the Coo. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, join in a selection of virtual events, including a Chinese New Year Concert from Edinburgh’s Usher Hall at 10am on Saturday 13 February and an informative presentation about the Chinese zodiac sign of the Ox, available on YouTube from 11 February. In Glasgow the Ricefield Gallery invite you to join a Chinese New Year Celebration from 7.30pm on Friday 26 February. The programme features talented performers presenting exhibitions of dance, music, martial arts and more, as well as the chance to learn about the traditions and history of China’s most important annual festival.
- Spring Fling – 29 May – 6 June. The Spring Fling is back for 2021 and is taking on the online world. Here to showcase the best contemporary visual arts and crafts Dumfries & Galloway has to offer through digital exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, live talks and more. Save the date and stay tuned for more details.
- Dundee Women’s Festival – 5 – 14 March 2021. On 8 March International Women’s Day was celebrated all over the world, to recognise women’s rights, their qualities and their achievements. Dundee went the extra mile this year by holding a two-week long festival. Dundee Women’s Festival was all about mixing with women from other cultures to expand understanding and friend circles, being more informed about women of the past who have achieved great things, learning a new skill, getting involved in sporting activities and encouraging other women to join in.
- Scott 250th Launch – 17 – 20 March. Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott, this event saw four nights of film created on the theme of ‘Young Scott’ being projected onto Scott’s childhood home of Smailholm Tower in Kelso.
- Perth Festival of the Arts – 20 – 29 May. 10 days of concerts and events broadcast from venues around Perth and a Festival Drive-in Cinema at Scone Palace.
- The Real Mary King’s Close – 13 March. Audiences got up close and personal with the Black Death during an 1hr long broadcast live from the Real Mary King’s Close. They uncovered the darker parts of Edinburgh’s past and learned all about the plague, as well as all the gruesome details.
Food & Drink
- Paisley Food & Drink Festival – 16 – 24 April. Embracing a different approach this year, enjoy a mouth-watering menu of interactive experiences, including online cooking demonstrations, virtual tasting sessions, music and cocktail making events, interactive workshops, offers from local businesses with Paisley Eats app and much more!
- The Scottish Chamber Orchestra have recorded their planned programme of concerts in the Queens Hall in Edinburgh and Perth Concert Hall. From Bach to Beethoven and Mozart to Milhaud, a feast of wonderful music will is available to view through the Orchestra’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
- The Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s first ever digital season offers ten glorious concerts film live in the RSNO’s Glasgow studio. Featuring acclaimed artists such as superstar violinist Midori, the series is available on a pay per concert or subscription basis.
- Edinburgh International Harp Festival – 9 – 12 April. The Edinburgh International Harp Festival is the UK’s premier harping event – an annual celebration and gathering of musical talents from the global harp community, and The Clarsach Society’s flagship event. In 2021, celebrate 40 years of the festival and 90 years of The Clarsach Society with plenty of digital things to get involved with.
Film & TV
- Glasgow Film Festival – 24 February – 7 March 2021. An annual Scottish favourite, the Glasgow Film Festival returned in 2021 with a wide-ranging programme that celebrated every corner of world cinema and provided a fantastic showcase for the best of Scottish film.
- Hippodrome Silent Film Festival – 17 – 21 March 2021. Fans of HippFest say that the Festival was more than a trip to the cinema, it was an experience – distinctive, eye-opening and enjoyable. The event saw a cocktail of screenings with music, workshops, events and activities that swept you up in the marvellous magic of early cinema.
- DolphinFest – 7 – 11 April. Celebrating the amazing marine wildlife in Aberdeen, with special focus on the bottlenose dolphins that you can see from Torry Battery, this event aims to raise the profile of the threats marine life face and encourage everyone to help protect it. To join the festival online, please register here and download the programme and a colouring sheet as well as keeping up to date on the Facebook page.
If you fancy getting into the great outdoors to explore some of Scotland’s stunning scenery and learn about how the land has been shaped by the elements over the millennia, why not get involved in the Scottish Geology Festival?
Explore more virtual and live streaming events of all genres and topics to keep you busy with The List.