Scottish Student Events Calendar 2018-19
The university year can be pretty jam-packed, so start planning your social calendar in advance with our guide to the best cultural events across Scotland throughout the year
Once you’ve made it through freshers week and you’ve managed to find at least one form of alcohol that’s bound to give you the boke for the rest of your life, it’s time to start behaving like a real adult, and that means getting all cultured and shit.
Probably the biggest cultural event in Scotland to happen this year, let alone just this month is the official opening of the V&A in Dundee. Over four years since the development was announced, the £80.1m museum will finally open on 15 September with the two-day 3D Festival, celebrating design, music and performance. Legendary Scottish outfit Primal Scream will headline the free two-day event, with the band also unveiling a new work with contemporary visual artist and Turner Prize nominee Jim Lambie.
For the film buffs, there’s many a festival this month. Take One Action’s programme this year offers over 40 films from six continents screened in 12 venues across Edinburgh and Glasgow, from two-seater police boxes to full-sized cinemas (12-24 Sep). Glasgow Youth Film Festival also returns from 14-16 September celebrating the young’ns, while Scalarama runs throughout the whole month in participating venues across Scotland (1-30 Sep).
The Black Madonna
October = Halloween, and there’ll surely be halls parties aplenty for you to attend (or at least claim you’re attending on Facebook but not actually turn up to). If you fancy a night away from those undoubtedly grim scenes, take a trip out to the Royal Highland Centre by Edinburgh Airport for Terminal V’s all-day techno bonanza on 27 October. The Black Madonna, Len Faki, Moodymann, Or:la and Optimo are just a few of the names on the line-up, so it’s looking pretty good already isn’t it?
There’s obviously one very famous night in November (hint: it features fireworks) but we’re going to put that to one side for now – we’ll fill you in on all the fifth of November shenanigans nearer the time. As 2018 is Scotland’s Year of Young People, NEoN Digital Arts Festival in Dundee will this year take on the theme of ‘digital natives’, highlighting the work of artists who challenge and celebrate ideas of time, its advantages and its implications. 6-11 November for that one, at venues across the city.
The film festivals run right through to November too, as Africa in Motion continue to bring hundreds of cliché-slaying films to our shores in a bid to engage with the African diaspora community living in Scotland (26 Oct-4 Nov in Glasgow and Edinburgh), while the French Film Festival brings us all things le cinéma français-related (dates tbc). Très bien.
No doubt you’ll have been dodging the Christmas section in shops for about three months now and suddenly you’re starting to panic about what you’re actually going to get everyone. Do some more Christmas shopping procrastinating by having a wander around Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Christmas markets, stopping for some raclette, mulled wine and a crêpe (or two) along the way. Then, panic buy a few presents on Christmas eve and leave yourself penniless just in time for New Year in true festive spirit.
Christmas Market, Princes St - Image: Fiona Shields
January is hard; we get it. You’ve probably developed a close bond with your parents' sofa over the past few weeks and are struggling to get back to reality, continually questioning whether you will ever be able to process any information that doesn’t revolve around eating or drinking again. So why not keep eating and drinking?! In moderation, of course. Results of The Skinny’s annual Food and Drink Survey are announced this month, so get ready to blow all that Christmas cash on tacos, pizza and beer all over town. Oh, and if you don’t at least try to eat haggis on Burns Night, you’re pretty much failing at being in Scotland (25 Jan).
If you’re neither loved up nor a fan of clichéd, overhyped, corporate-fuelled, made-up romantic holidays (much like us) then February probably won’t mean that much to you. However, you can look forward to Aberdeen’s annual Festival of Light, SPECTRA (dates TBC), which last year featured an exciting new music programme – more of the same again this year please. Meanwhile, the Glasgow Film Festival comes around towards the end of the month to take you into March in a hail of great cinema (20 Feb-3 Mar).
Glasgow Film Theatre
There’s plenty to keep you distracted from your impending exams and coursework deadlines in March, and there’s really something for everyone, no matter where your interests lie. Art fans are treated to the opening of RSA New Contemporaries, an exhibition consisting of a selection of the previous year’s graduates across five of Scotland’s art schools (dates TBC); in film, there’s Glasgow Short Film Festival (13-17 Mar) and the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (20-24 Mar); for the wordsmiths, there’s St Andrews-based poetry festival StAnza (6-10 Mar); and there are more than two weeks of laughs at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival (14-31 Mar).
RSA New Contemporaries - Image: Chris Park
The always-educational and super fun Edinburgh International Science Festival will surely keep you occupied for most of April, with this year’s theme announced as Frontiers (6-21 Apr). Music fans will get the chance to see some of the best up-and-coming Scottish acts for free at music industry convention and showcase festival, Wide Days (12-13 Apr). And why not end the month with an evening of fire, drumming, and acrobatics up a hill at Beltane Fire Festival. Brought to you by the same team behind Samhuinn Fire Festival, those fire-loving pyromaniacs at Beltane Fire Society just can’t seem to get enough of those sweet, sweet flames (30 Apr).
Beltane Fire Festival - Image: Ove Hansen
Art school degree show season begins here with DJCAD in Dundee, before Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art take the reigns next month. Keep an eye on their social media channels for dates and times. If you fancy travelling a bit further to support those lovely art grads, journey up to Aberdeen (the land of dreams) and pay a visit to the Gray’s School of Art degree show too. Watch out for the seagulls though, they’re beasts.
Uni’s out for the week, month or however long global warming will permit this year of Scottish summer. If you can’t afford or simply don't have the time for a holiday abroad, stick around for the start of Scotland’s festival season instead. Edinburgh-based multi-arts festival Hidden Door will hopefully be returning for another year, funding permitting, with Eden Festival near Moffat (6-9 Jun), Solas Festival in Perthshire (21-23 June), XpoNorth in Inverness and Skinny fave Kelburn Garden Party near Largs all taking place across Scotland in June as well. All eyes to theskinny.co.uk/music – when we know who's playing, you'll know (because we'll tell you).
Dream Wife, Hidden Door 2018 - Image: Poosa Päivänsalo
The music festivals continue into July with annual ladfest TRNSMT in Glasgow (12-14 Jul) – line-ups for the first two TRNSMT weekends have featured the likes of Liam Gallagher, Radiohead and The Killers, but with some gems to be found further down the bill. Also, this month are the more low-key Doune the Rabbit Hole at Cardross Estate near Stirling (19-21 Jul) and the more high-brow Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival (12-21 Jul).
With glitter and rainbows as far as the eye can see, it could only be Glasgow Pride which returns in July. It's the most joy-filled day you’ll experience all year – besides the Edinburgh Pride (15 Jun) celebrations the month prior, that is.
Edinburgh Pride - Image: Susie Purvis
Do we really need to tell you about all of Scotland’s cultural happs in August? Okay, fine, if we must. Well, you’ve got the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival taking over the capital for the majority of the month. Round that off with a trip to Electric Fields at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway after the madness has just about subsided, then it’s back to uni you go, ready to do it all over again for another year.
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