For over 100 years, Glasgow has enriched the European musical scene by putting forward incredible musicians from all across the spectrum and by organising entertaining gigs, music festivals, and concerts across its breathtaking venues. This dedication to the field of music earned Glasgow a rank among UNESCO’s list of Cities of Music in Europe. You can expect to sample all music genres in Glasgow’s music festivals, no matter which festival you choose to attend.
Glasgow’s music festivals represent one category only of the multitude of festivals that take place around the city throughout the year. All these festivals reflect the city’s historical, artistic, and cultural heritage and environment, successfully drawing in thousands from around the world each year. Here are some must-attend Glasgow music festivals we to bring you.
The musical calendar in Glasgow begins with the Celtic Connections festival, where more than 1,000 musicians from all genres pump life into the city’s iconic locations. Celtic Connections is a 29-year-old festival that focuses on Scottish music, its roots, instruments, and its incorporation into international music. Over the years, the festival incorporated international folk music, Jazz, Soul, and Americana. What differentiates this festival from others is the massive number of workshops, work sessions, and free events it hosts.
- Duration: from 18th January to 4th February.
- Location: Various locations around Glasgow.
Glasgow Music Festival
Glasgow’s main music festival is a 111- years-old festival of a masterful combination of music, art, drama, dance, and speech. The two-week festival features more than 7,000 across the festival’s varied genres, with a focus on young performers to help them further hone their skills. Additionally, the festival also nurtures aspiring artists through group events to assist them in visualising the next step in their musical careers.
- Duration: from 7th to 18th March.
- Location: various locations around Glasgow.
Country to Country is the main Country Music festival in the UK, replacing the old Festival of Country Music. The first edition of the festival began in London in 2013 and spread like wildfire throughout Europe, with additional editions held in Dublin, Glasgow, Oslo, and Berlin. Some of the most loved names in Country Music had taken the stage at the festival, including Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, and Rascal Flatts, before they disbanded. The 2023 edition in Glasgow featured Ashley Cooke, Drake Milligan, and Kameron Marlowe.
- Duration: from 8th to 10th March.
- Location: The OVO Hydro.
Govan Music Festival
The Glasgow Barons, who’ve been working on sustaining hope through music in the Govan area in Glasgow since 2017, bring the second edition of their music festival. The Govan Music Festival is a multicultural and multi-genre festival which brings performances in Classical, Community, and Hip-Hop Music. Performances from local communities and establishments also take the stage to dazzle the flocking crowds through three different main events: Renew, Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance, and Symphomania.
- Duration: from 15th to 19th March.
- Location: Glasgow South Side.
The team behind the Counterflows Music Festival prides itself on breaking the boundaries of the music industry by encouraging experimental music and underground musicians and new approaches to musical genres. In its 11th edition, the festival welcomes musicians from all around the UK and the world in intriguing new performances, collaborations, workshops, discussions, and club nights. Some performers taking the stage this year include Mariam Rezaei, On Yee Lo, Fred Moten, Pat Thomas, and Nour Mobarak.
- Duration: from 6th to 9th April.
- Location: Glasgow City Centre.
Scottish House & Disco Festival
If you want a one-day musical extravaganza and love House and Disco music, then this festival is for you. The festival covers all areas of House and Disco music, such as Rock, Metal, R&B, Reggae, Hip Hop, Funk, Electronic, and folk music. Many worldwide recognised names are expected to take the stage and hype the crowds up at this year’s edition, which will take place on Easter Sunday, including DJ Spen, The Reflex, Craig Charles, and Scottish music legends Billy Woods, Al Kent, and Natasha Kitty Katt.
- Duration: 9th April.
- Location: Studio Warehouse Glasgow.
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra brought the Tectonics Glasgow music festival to life in order to introduce new and innovative lines between music genres. Since the first edition, the festival has presented unforgettable performances by musical geniuses such as Alvin Lucier, composer Éliane Radigue, and now Academy Award winner Hildur Guðnadóttir. The festival’s upcoming lineup includes pianist Aki Takahashi, compositions by Rufus Isabel Elliot, and Colombian sensation Lucrecia Dalt. All performances will air on BBC Radio 3.
- Duration: from 29th to 30th April.
- Location: Glasgow City Halls.
Stag & Dagger Glasgow
It’s interesting the number of shows, performances, and concerts a twelve-hour festival can include. This is the essence of the Stag & Dagger festival in Glasgow, where more than 50 names rock the stages around the city, filling the audiences’ minds and souls with both the much-loved classics and the latest musical masterpieces. The lineup for the festival brings names such as Black Lips, Lebanon Hanover, Dutch Uncles, Nieve Ella, and St Duke’s. Previous editions featured beloved musicians such as Ed Sheeran, Mac Demarco, and Lizzo.
- Duration: 30th April.
- Location: various locations around Glasgow.
An exciting combination of music, theatre, art, comedy, and burlesque draws attention during May of each year in the city’s Southside area. The festival organisers began developing its first edition in 2011. They introduced the first full edition, with localised music, theatre, art, and burlesque, to the crowds in 2013. In keeping up with the precautions to face the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival’s management made their various shows and gigs available to watch online through their website and application.
- Duration: Throughout May.
- Location: Various locations around Glasgow’s southside.
Glasgow Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival
Get ready for a nine-hour jam-packed festival of exciting Blues, Rhythm, and Rock music. The Glasgow festival takes the city’s former Kelvinside Parish Church as its venue, which is now a buzzing entertainment centre, live music venue, and bar. Recurring acts will return to Glasgow’s Blues Festival this year, with names such as Aynsley Lister, Groundhogs, Bison, These Wicked Rivers, and The Hiding Magpies.
- Duration: 28th May.
- Location: Oran Mor.
Riverside Festival Glasgow
The Riverside Museum by the River Clyde has been welcoming crowds since 2012 in Scotland’s highlight of Electronic music. With a starting audience of 3,000, the festival’s lineup of pioneer and underground Electronic musicians has pumped the festival’s attendance up to 15,000. Previous editions of the festival brought names such as Jeff Mills, Bicep, and Leftfield. The 2023 edition of the festival will be celebrating the festival’s 10th anniversary with acts such as Acemoma, Charlie Sparks, Farnaz, and Palms Trax.
- Duration: from 3rd to 4th June.
- Location: The Riverside Museum.
Glasgow International Jazz Festival
Glasgow’s Jazz Festival is one of the city’s oldest festivals, founded back in 1987 with Sarah Vaughan, one of the world’s greatest jazz singers, taking the stage. Over the following years, renowned composers and jazz musicians joined the festival’s lineup, such as Benny Carter, Miles Davis, and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. The 2011 edition brought jaw-dropping acts from Cleo Lane and Courtney Pine in celebration of the festival’s silver jubilee. For their 2023 lineup, the festival’s website has set up a countdown to announce the official list of their upcoming shows.
- Duration: from 14th to 18th June.
- Location: Merchant City.
TRNSMT music festival started back in 2017, with a focus on rock, pop, and electronica music. The festival presents more than 150,000 fans from all over the world with the latest tunes from music legends and start-up acts. TRNSMT takes place over this weekend in July, representing the top of Glasgow’s summer festivals. Throughout its previous versions, bands such as The Killers, Queen, Radiohead, George Ezra, and Arctic Monkeys have dazzled crowds over the three-day festival.
The 2023 attendance will witness Pulp’s comeback in the festival, George Ezra will return to wow the crowds, while Aitch and Royal Blood will be making their debuts at the festival.
- Duration: from 7th to 9th July.
- Location: Glasgow Green.
The National Piping Centre in Glasgow held the Piping Hot Festival to celebrate the versatility of bagpipes since 2003, which established the world’s largest bagpiping festival. In addition to performances, there’s a wide range of classes, workshops, and ceilidhs (social gatherings). The 30,000 attendances over the years have enjoyed performances by Scotland’s National Youth Pipe Band, Alasdair Gillies, Balázs Istvánfi, and András Németh.
- Duration: from 12th to 20th August.
- Location: Royal Concert Hall and various locations around Glasgow.
World Pipe Band Championships
Piping bands from around the globe have competed in this piping championship since 1947, with the majority of them being from different spots around the UK. The weekend event welcomes crowds from all over the world to marvel at the remarkable bands’ music, synchronicity, and performances. The Northern Ireland pipe band, Field Marshal Montgomery, currently holds the title of world champion. Several pipe bands have scored the world championship several times over the years, such as the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band and the Simon Fraser University pipe band.
- Duration: from 18th to 19th August.
- Location: Glasgow Green.
Glasgow Summer Sessions
With a crowd exceeding 30,000 each night, Glasgow Summer Sessions has been entertaining crowds since 2013. The festival’s overall attendance exceeds 100,000 every year and attracts some of the prominent names in the local and international music industry. Sold-out shows over the past years include Avicii, David Guetta, Kendrick Lamar, and Foo Fighters.
- Duration: Last weekend in August.
- Location: Bellahousten Park.
All across Glasgow’s West End, a musical extravaganza takes place for 12 hours at Tenement Trail musical festival. Many attendants described the festival as the ultimate collage for music lovers, where emerging and world-renowned musicians take the city’s cultural venues. The festival brings more than 60 bands, musicians, and artists, such as Lewis Capaldi, Yungblud, Squid, and The Cribs.
- Duration: 7th October.
- Location: Glasgow East End.
As a thriving city of musical culture, Glasgow’s music festivals promise to leave an unforgettable mark on your time in the city.