Glasgow's Biggest Annual Events & Festivals

more than a year ago
Glasgow’s uniqueness is largely defined by its cultural vibrancy. As an epicentre for all things art and culture, it is the home of several big museums and iconic concert venues, as well as the home of the Scottish Opera and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. It was even nominated the European Capital of Culture back in 1990 by the European Union. Because of this, it will come as no surprise that Glasgow hosts a variety of exciting festivals and events all year round. Here is a list of some of Glasgow’s most loved and iconic annual events:

Celtic Connections

Next: 16 January - 2 February 2020
Location: Several venues all over Glasgow

If you find yourself in Glasgow at the beginning of the year, the winter festival Celtic Connections is the perfect escape from the typically rainy and cold Glasgow winter days. This large Celtic music festival was first started in 1994 and is truly one of a kind. It is a celebration of Celtic music and ‘its connections to cultures across the globe’*. Music genres like jazz, americana, techno, blues and fold are all represented. In 2019, the festival drew over 130,000 attendees that watched 2100 artists at 300 events in 20 venues. However, the attendees can not just enjoy the concert but can also forget about the cold winter days at ceilidhs, talks, workshops, art exhibitions and free events.

Find out more via: Website  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Glasgow Film Festival

Next: 26 February - 8 March 2020
Location: Several venues all over Glasgow

Glasgow Film Festival will return for its 16th edition in 2020. It is one of the leading film festivals in the UK and welcomes international and local films from various genres. Depending on the event, audiences do not just get to watch the films, but can also experience guest appearances by the filmmakers, as well as Q&As, discussion panels and interactive workshops. The first Glasgow Film Festival happened in 2006 with 6,000 attendees, in 2019 the admissions numbers reached a new record with 42,224 attendees.

Find out more via: Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  YouTube

Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival

Next: 12 March - 29 March 2020
Location: Several venues all over Glasgow

If you want to experience some proper British humour, the Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival is the place to do so. It features comedians from all over the United Kingdom and beyond and is set to return in 2020 for its 18th year. In 2018, the festival featured 513 performs in 54 venues all over Glasgow. Confirmed comedians for 2020 include Jimmy Carr, John Shuttleworth and Susie McCabe.

Find out more via: Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  YouTube

West End Festival

Next: June 2020
Location: Various venues in the West End

Celebrating the West End, the annual West End festival truly has something for everyone, from walks and talks to ceilidhs, gala days, theatre performances, comedy events, literary events for adults and children and wine tasting. The programme features ticketed events and free events.

Find out more via: Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  YouTube

TRNSMT Festival

Next: 10-12 July 2020
Location: Glasgow Green

With the first TRNSMT Festival happening in 2017, this festival has quickly become one of Glasgow’s annual highlights. This year’s line up features artist such as Stormzy, Years & Years, Mabel, Catfish & the Bottleman, Bastille, Sigrid, The Snuts, Sam Fender, Skinny Lister, George Ezra, Snow Patrol, Jess Glynne, The Kooks and The Wombats. At the end of 2017, it was even named the best new festival at the UK Festival Awards in London.

Find out more via: Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  YouTube

World Pipe Band Championships

Next: 14-15 August 2020
Location: Glasgow Green
First started in 1947, around 220 pipe bands from around 15 countries fight for glory at the World Pipe Band Championships brings each year. Thousands of pipers, drummers and attendees celebrate the championships in Glasgow since 1986. On Saturday, the attendees can look forward to several other programme points such as the World Highland Games, the Drum Major competition and the World Highland Dancing Competition. There will also be a kids zone and souvenirs, gifts and merchandise to peruse through as well as a variety of catering. Ticket prices for adults range from £5 to £16 depending on the type of ticket, children’s tickets (5-16), family (two adults, three children), concession tickets and more ticket options are available as well.

Find out more via: Website  Facebook  Twitter

The Mackintosh Festival

Next: October 2020
Location: Several venues all around the city
Celebrating the life of the artist, designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, this festival is put on by the members of the Glasgow Mackintosh group like The Lighthouse, The Hunterian, The Willow Tea Rooms, The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow Museums, The Mackintosh Church, The Hill House and House of an Art Lover. The complete programme is yet to be announced in August.

Find out more via: Website  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night

Next: 5 November 2020
Location: Glasgow Green

If you happen to be in Glasgow at the beginning of November you cannot miss out on this event. Join Glaswegians and people from around the world on Glasgow Green to watch the bonfire night fireworks. The Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night celebrates Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up the parliament in 1605. Accompanied by music, the fireworks are a wonderful display to witness. Surrounded by food trucks and merchandise stands, this is an event for the entire family and the entry is free!

Find out more via: Website

Santa Dash

Next: December
If you happen to be in Glasgow in December you might end up coming across something peculiar...thousands of Santa’s running through the city centre. The aim of the 5k race is to raise money for a charity. In 2017, 8,000 Santa’s took to Glasgow’s streets for the run. Details on this year's race are still to come, so keep your eyes peeled on their socials!

Find out more via: Website

Sources: *Celtic Connections

Compiled by Annika Trapp, who is currently studying Media and Communication at Glasgow City University.


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