Heads Up: Scottish Student Events Calendar 2017-18

Our guide to the best of the cultural year ahead, with festivals, parties, exhibitions and interesting things galore across Scotland

Feature by Kate Pasola and Rosamund West | 04 Sep 2017

September 2017

Now that the novelty of stealing traffic cones / engaging in pub golf / vomming in gutters has distinctly worn off, let’s get onto the good stuff, shall we? If you’re Edinburgh-based, take your new pals to DAREFest (23 Sep), a one-day festival aimed at empowering women to take part in the Scottish music scene. If you’re in Glasgow you can head to Doors Open Days (11-17 Sep), which offer a chance to stick your nose into other people’s businesses and also learn about the social history of your new home through a series of talks and tours.

After that, head over to Take One Action Film Festival in Edinburgh & Glasgow from 13-24 Sep for a programme of feature films and shorts aiming to change the word. If you want to get really cultured, take advantage of standby student tickets at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre and King’s Theatre; turn up on the day and nab show tickets for a tenner – less than the price of a Dominos.

October 2017

Fine, throw a shite Halloween party if you must, but bear in mind how much brilliance Scotland’s proffering this October. There’s the Graphic Design Festival (20-26 Oct), Scotland Loves Animation Festival (13-22 Oct) and Africa in Motion, a festival bringing another programme of cliché-slaying films to Glasgow from 27 Oct-5 Nov.

November 2017

Remember, remember, NEoN Digital Arts Festival, a programme of installations, exhibitions and performances across Dundee from 7-12 Nov. Oh – and the fifth of November! Head back to these very webpages for a full rundown of this year’s displays closer to the time. There are usually stellar shows at Glasgow Green in the west, and Meadowbank Stadium or Calton Hill if you’re in the big ‘Burg. The autumn film festival programme continues with the French Film Festival, celebrating their silver jubilee with a series of screenings and special events from 4 Nov-2 Dec.

Also, leg it to Edinburgh Castle on 30 Nov – it’s St Andrew’s Day so you might be able to hustle your way in for free.

December 2017

Edinburgh and Glasgow city centres go berserk around this point of the year, which is handy because you’ve got revision to neglect. Mulled-wine and Belgian waffle-dine yourself at the Christmas markets throughout December, then stagger into 2018 (WTF) at Edinburgh’s gargantuan Hogmanay celebrations, complete with street parties, fireworks and ceilidhs galore (31 Dec).

January 2018

Chances are your first year has already given you a Hulk-esque metabolism for alcohol, so Dry January can get tae fuck. You’re probably a bit poor though, so just look forward to the haggis-fiesta that is Burns Night for now (25 Jan). Speaking of scran, keep an eye out for the results of The Skinny Food and Drink Survey 2018 this month too. We’ll keep you right.

If you’re looking for some culture to see you through the long dark days head along to Manipulate, a celebration of puppetry, animation and visual theatre from 26 Jan-3 Feb.

February 2018

Not gonna lie, February’s baltic climes are pretty minging up here, but hopefully by now you’ve locked down with some lovely person you met in your tutorials just in time for Valentine’s. But where to go? Catch some celluloid at Glasgow Film Festival (21 Feb-4 Mar), obviously. Or, if you’re riding more solo than Derulo head to The Stand Comedy Club who’ll hopefully be running their usual Anti-Valentine’s night of group sympathy and laughing through the tears.

March 2018

Just as you’re starting to shit bricks that you’re going to fail your first year, March explodes with all kinds of gallivanting and tomfoolery for your exploitation. There’s Glasgow Short Film Festival (14-18 Mar); RSA New Contemporaries – an exhibition of this year’s sparkliest Scottish Fine Art graduates; Glasgow Comedy Festival (8-25 Mar); the impeccably named StAnza poetry festival in St Andrews (7-11 Mar); a silent cinema festival at Bo’ness Hippodrome Cinema (dates TBC), and the massive geek-out that is Edinburgh International Science Festival (31 Mar-15 Apr). Chill out, you can revise when you’re dead.

April 2018

Glasgow’s book festival Aye Write! kicks off your April (dates TBC) – head on down to pick out some decent springtime reading material. Alternatively, usher in the Summer Pagan-style at Beltane, a fire festival straddling Calton Hill on the last eve of April.

Vegans and vegan-fanciers can head to Glasgow’s Trades Hall for Vegan Festival on 14 & 15 Apr where they will find out (to quote the website) ‘how easy and attractive it is to be a vegan :)’

Staying in Glasgow, the city’s biennial festival of visual art – Glasgow International – arrives from 20 Apr-7 May with (presumably) its now-expected stellar programme of pop-ups, art stars both international and local, and access to some of the city’s hidden spaces.

May 2018

It’s degree show season! Go help those knackered art students get their long-awaited validation, starting out with DJCAD in Dundee, before continuing into June with the fruits of GSA and ECA’s labours. If you’re feeling very adventurous, you can even head up to Aberdeen to see what the Gray’s students have been up to. WARNING: the campus is an hour’s walk from the station and the city is filled with seagulls the size of Jack Russells.

If checking out other people’s college success is a bit close to the bone around exam-time (you’re probably knee-deep in textbooks, after all), why not run away from it all for a lost weekend at Glasgow’s annual May weekender Riverside Festival (dates TBC). Failing that, check out what Edinburgh Uni’s Improverts are up to; usually they chuck on a couple of Exam Shows, providing the student body with a little well-deserved comic relief.

June 2018

YOU’RE FREE. TAPS AFF. Oh, it’s raining? Well, no, don’t celebrate with Netflix, you conglomerate of millennial loneliness and digital addiction. Go and interact with actual humans and the arts at Edinburgh International Film Festival (20 Jun-1 Jul). There’s also LeithLate, an annual arts festival of exhibitions, tours, marts and gigs (exact dates TBC), and top hats galore at Edinburgh Magic Festival (dates TBC). If you want to properly acquaint yourself with this fine country and learn a disconcerting amount about ferrets, trek up to the Royal Highland Show (21-24 Jun). Or, if you want to see what is truly fine about this country, head to Edinburgh Pride on 16 Jun for some celebration and solidarity.

July 2018

If you’ve managed to save a bit of pocket money from your almost non-existent loan, now’s your chance to spend every last penny at one of Scotland’s music festivals. If you’re looking for a poi-filled oasis and have a high tolerance for white-man dreadlocks, give Kelburn Garden Party a go (29 Jun-2 Jul). If you’re a #lad with a penchant for mostly male line-ups, try TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow Green (6-8 Jul). Looking for something more intimate and acoustic, and feeling blindly optimistic about your chances of securing a ticket? Head far to the west for the annual Iona Village Hall Music Festival, from 30 Jun to 2 Jul. 

August 2018

Things were running a bit dry, culture-wise during August, so we thought we’d just point you towards the single largest arts festival in the human-inhabited universe. Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes place over three weeks this month, coinciding with the Edinburgh International Festival (3-27 Aug), another biggie. There’s also Edinburgh Art Festival, plus Edinburgh International Book Festival, usually cutting the ribbons at mid-August too, and thennnn – oh… would you look at that… it’s September again. You’ll be clutching a rolled-up degree and fake-smiling your way into the adult world in the blink of an eyelid, so just fucking enjoy yourself, will you?