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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 01/09/2023

Festival fever in the South of Scotland

Festivals in the South of Scotland are in abundance this year, all year round – from oysters to ice-cream, books to blacksmithing and Halloween to hillwalking. There’s something for everyone. They’re taking place across a huge variety of venues and locations across the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

We’ve highlighted a few new festivals that have launched for 2023 and some highlights of the events calendar. There are so many brilliant events in the South that we couldn't list them all.

You can also find out how to list your event at visitscotland.com and promote it to a wider audience.

Stranraer oyster festival

Stranraer Oyster Festival

MaD Festival 2023 | 8-16 September

During this year's 'Making and Doing Festival of Creativity' there will be a series of themed workshops and interactive demonstrations showcasing the region's best, local, creative talent. You can experience first-hand the depth and breadth of the cultural and artistic wealth of South West Scotland.

A variety of workshops and demonstrations by local makers and doers encompass everything from the Japanese art of kintsugi to traditional drystane dyking, tapestry weaving, blacksmithing, bookbinding, fermentation and foraging wild plants and herbs to make healing balms.

It starts from the 8 September at the South Machars Community Centre in Whithorn.

See the full programme from the event

basket of wool

Edge Fest Music Festival | 2-3 September

Lilliardsedge Holiday Park and Golf Course is hosting the first ever Edge Fest festival. It will be held next to Lilliardsedge Holiday Park located on the A68 between Jedburgh and St. Boswells. Guests can stay in the Holiday park accommodation and festival camping facilities have been set up.

International star Billy Ocean and Scottish favourites Wet Wet Wet are headlining the festival this year. Chart topping singer Ella Henderson and Kitchen Disco queen Sophie Ellis-Bextor will also take to the stage alongside Edinburgh singer songwriter Callum Beattie and Brit award winner Gabrielle. There’s also lots of family entertainment. All Edge Fest needs is the sunshine and it's set to be a great weekend.

Find out more about the festival

edgefest

Scottish Borders Walking festival 2023 | 2-9 September

The Scottish Borders Walking Festival Kelso 2023 is to be held from Saturday 2-9 September. There is a full week of 28 led walks with four walks a day of varying levels.

The first week long walking festival in Scottish Borders was held in West Linton in 1994. Since then, the Scottish Borders Walking Festival has moved from town to town each year, co-ordinated by local volunteers.

This year the festival is being held in Kelso and the surrounding areas in partnership with VisitKelso.

To book a walk or find out more

family walk

Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival | 22-24 September

Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival is a community music festival promoting bluegrass and old timey music.

They also encourage people of all ages to begin to learn an instrument associated with bluegrass and old timey music by offering free instrument workshops at the festival and also by holding a summer instrument workshop annually.

The festival committee are all volunteers from Somerset, Ayr, Fife, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dumfries and the village itself.

Find out more about the community music festival

gig and crowd at event

Music at the Multiverse | 2-3 September

Music at the Multiverse returns this year and is taking place on 2 and 3 September at the unique Crawick Multiverse in Upper Nithsdale.

Headlining the main stage will be feel good festival favourites Scouting for Girls; multi-award-winning Celtic trad-rockers Skerryvore; and Scottish rock legends Big Country.

Crawick Multiverse is a land art project by the landscape architect and designer Charles Jencks near Sanquhar, Dumfries and Galloway.

Get involved in the festival

Crawick Multiverse

Stranraer Oyster Festival | 15-17 September

Developed and delivered by community organisation Stranraer Development Trust, Stranraer Oyster Festival is in its sixth year.

Loch Ryan is home to Scotland’s last remaining wild, native oyster fishery, and the festival celebrates the town’s oysters in a three-day programme that attracts thousands of people.  

The 2023 festival programme includes cookery demonstrations by celebrity chefs Michael Caines and Tony Singh, live music, extreme pond dipping, an artisan market, the Big Oyster Bash, children’s entertainment, a massive oyster bar and a spectacular firework display over Loch Ryan.

 

Visit the festivals website for more info

stranraer oyster festival

More festivals to look out for in 2023

Raiders Gravel 

Raiders Gravel is a four day gravel cycling event based in the Dumfries & Galloway town of Gatehouse of Fleet.

Kirkcudbright Fringe

Brand new for 2023 – Kirkcudbright Fringe brings an exciting selection of performers from comedy to theatre, rock bands to choirs, talks and debates to art tours and workshops. 35 acts across 11 venues from 1 September to 3 September 2023.

Blues Weekender

This is a weekend of classic Blues tunes. They've got an excellent line up of musicians this year including Al Hughes, Brian Rawson Band, Easy Does It and 3 Card Trick.

Wigtown Book Festival

The 10-day Wigtown Book Festival is now one of the UK’s best-loved literary events in Dumfries & Galloway. It is also Scotland’s National Book Town, a designation that reflects its dozen or so second-hand bookshops and annual literary festival.

Autumn Trad Fest

Held in Newton Stewart this festival is a celebration of the trad music scene. Gigs are held in the Vaults Arts Centre. 

Kirkcudbright Festival of Light

This year’s Festival of Light is back with spectacular light displays, fantastic events and a Lantern Parade. There are three days of performances, art installations and experiences for visitors and locals.

Borders Book Festival

This four-day festival welcomes to the Scottish Borders some of the biggest names from the world of literature, entertainment, and politics. Organisers will release an early peek at some of the headliners in the first quarter of 2024. 

Brorders book festival

There is much to look forward to across the South of Scotland in the coming months and it is great to see new events and festivals spring up, as well as those that have built up a strong following in recent years.

These events and festivals will help encourage people to visit and explore the South of Scotland during the coming weeks, supporting the regional and seasonal spread of visitors and promoting Scotland as a year-round destination.

Gordon Smith, Destination Development Director, VisitScotland

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