Festivals in Argyll & The Isles

Argyll is famous for its music, as well as fresh local food & drink produce, so it’s easy to see why the region has a thriving music festival scene. Between April and October, world-renowned artists join the best local groups to perform at a series of award-winning events within spectacular surroundings. In this guest blog post, Ross Coutts from Argyll Holidays brings you a list of some of the best festivals in Argyll, as well as a few further afield.

 19-20 APRIL – CARRADALE MUSIC FESTIVAL – CARRADALE 

Situated in the small village of Carradale on the east of Kintyre, Carradale Music Festival is one of the newest events on the circuit and was launched by members of local band Rhuvaal in 2018. After a successful sell-out, they return for a second year with Trail West, Heron Valley & Beinn Lee just three of the bands joining them over the weekend. A licensed bar, hot food and local craft stalls complete the intimate event.

Weekend Price: Weekend tickets are SOLD OUT. Adult Friday tickets from £20 / children from £15. 

Accommodation: Camping available here http://www.carradalebay.com/. Self-catering and hotel accommodation also available nearby.

25-29 APRIL – MULL MUSIC FESTIVAL – TOBERMORY 

Mull Music Festival has traditionally marked the start of the West coast festival calendar and is held across venues within the town of Tobermory. An ever-impressive line-up of Scottish traditional ceilidh & folk music has been announced for 2019, headed up by the likes of Trail West, Gunna Sound, Hó-Ró and Peat & Diesel who all perform at Macgochans. Best of all, MMF is FREE ENTRY, so festival-goers are urged to turn up early.

Weekend Price: Free Entry

Accommodation: Accommodation available here - http://www.isle-of-mull.net/accommodation/ - Camping is also available at Tobermory campsite.

 3-5 MAY – KINTYRE SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL – CAMPBELTOWN 

The Kintyre Songwriters Festival has been hosting the best in song writing talent from across the country since its inaugural event in 2008, with a particular focus on local talent from the Kintyre area. This year’s line-up is pretty special with former Seahorses frontman Chris Helme and Adam Holmes & the Embers among the performers.

Weekend Price: Prices vary for individual events, check website for further info

Accommodation: Accommodation available here - https://www.explorecampbeltown.com/listing-category/accommodation/

17-19 MAY – GIG IN THE GOIL – LOCHGOILHEAD – 

Returning for its fourth year, Argyll Holidays’ very own family-friendly Gig in the Goil event is hosted across three venues and welcomes Mànran, Donnie Munro & Trail West to Lochgoilhead as Main Stage headliners, with Vistas & Shambolics among the acts performing in the intimate surroundings of the Showcase Stage. Local food & drink is also available.

Weekend Price: Adults from £27.50/ Children from £12.50/ Under 10’s free

Accommodation: Self-catering caravans & lodges available to hire onsite. www.argyllholidays.com/gig-goil  

 24 MAY – 1 JUNE – FEIS ILE – ISLE OF ISLAY 

Held at the end of May, Feis Ile is now in its sixteenth year of showcasing the stunning destination of Islay. The diverse programme takes place across the entire island and includes traditional music, ceilidhs, Gaelic lessons, golf, bowling and of course whisky tasting. Each of the 8 distilleries has its own open day and the local bars all host live music. Black Rock Ceilidh Band, Have Mercy Las Vegas & A Hooligan are among the bands confirmed so far.

Price: Prices vary for individual events, check website for further info

Accommodation: Hotels, guesthouses, self-catering & camping all available – but demand is extremely high so best book quick - http://accommodation.islayinfo.com/

 31 MAY – 3 JUNE – FYNEFEST – LOCH FYNE 

Situated at Fyne Ales brewery on the shores of Loch Fyne, FyneFest has established itself as one of Scotland’s ‘must attend’ beer festivals.  With over 100 different real ales from across the country, and a generous selection of local food produce, you’re sure to have a fantastic time. Live music comes from 9-piece ska-rockers Bombskare, Awkward Family Portraits and Dr Hip & the Blues Operation, with many more across the weekend.  The event sells-out year-on-year, so it’s advised to purchase tickets early.

Weekend Price: Adults from £64.50 / Children from £10 / Under 12’s free

Accommodation: Camping available onsite (small charge applies)

7-8 JUNE – OBAN LIVE – OBAN 

Held at the famous shinty ground Mossfield Stadium, Oban Live is the biggest live music event in Argyll. Four years ago, multi-award-winning trad rock act Skerryvore commemorated a decade together with a special open-air concert. The success of this paved the way for Oban Live which was officially launched a year later and featured high profile acts from across the UK. It returns in June with We Banjo 3, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Lucy Spraggan & Elephant Sessions among the artists joining Skerryvore for the main event.

Weekend Price: Adults from £72/ Children from £52/ Under 8’s free

Accommodation: A range of accommodation is available in Oban, just minutes’ walk from the festival. http://www.oban.org.uk/accommodation-oban-scotland/

28-30 JUNE – ISLE OF GIGHA MUSIC FESTIVAL – GIGHA 

The Isle of Gigha Festival takes place over the last weekend in June, and plays host to some brilliant entertainment in the intimate Village Hall - which holds just 150 festival-goers. There's a festival supper, workshops, open mic sessions, concerts, a ceilidh, and even a piper’s picnic. Artists include the Fiona Hunter Band & Rhuvaal. The festival holds the world record 65 minutes for a non-stop Orcadian Strip the Willow - so get those dancing shoes on!

Price: 2019 Prices TBC

Accommodation: Gigha has limited accommodation but camping is also available. More info: http://www.gigha.org.uk/viewItem.php#3

12-14 JULY – TIREE MUSIC FESTIVAL – CROSSAPOOL 

The award winning Tiree Music Festival is held in one of the most scenic locations in the world. Dubbed the “Hawaii of the North”, the gorgeous Hebridean Island of Tiree is the perfect setting for a family-friendly weekend of live music and fun. TMF returns for its 10th Anniversary in July with Skerryvore, Tide Lines, Sandi Thom & Jill Jackson topping the bill, along with a special all-star tribute to Bruce Springsteen – ‘Waiting on a Sunny Day’.

Weekend Price: TMF 2019 is SOLD OUT

Accommodation: Camping available onsite

26-28 JULY – BUTEFEST – ETTRICK BAY 

ButeFest is a family-friendly weekend festival returns for its 5th year, and is packed with live music, food, craft beers, entertainment & fun. Held on the golden sands of Ettrick Bay - a short shuttle bus from Rothesay - the event is one of the most easily accessible island festivals and welcomes tourists & locals alike. An impressive line-up is set to follow with Tide Lines, Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5 and Lucy Spraggan leading the way in the announcements.

Weekend Price: Adults from £100/ Youth from £55/ Child (5-12) from £15/ Under 5’s free

Accommodation: Camping tickets available. Local accommodation available here: http://www.visitbute.com

21-25 AUGUST – MULL OF KINTYRE MUSIC FESTIVAL – CAMPBELTOWN 

One of the oldest and most established festivals in the West, Mull of Kintyre Music Festival - or MOKFest as it's more commonly known returns for its 27th year. The festival showcases the best in traditional and contemporary music from across the globe through a series of concerts and events - with this year's line-up featuring Mànran, Dougie Maclean, Heron Valley & Rhuvaal we know it's going to be special.

Price: Prices vary for individual events, check website for further info.

Accommodation: There’s a host of local accommodation (including camping) here http://www.mokfest.com/accommodation/

29-31 AUGUST – COWAL HIGHLAND GATHERING – DUNOON 

The famous Cowal Highland Gathering is held in Dunoon on an annual basis, and sees over 23,000 visitors flock to the town for the largest, most spectacular highland games in the world. Not only will you find world-class pipe bands, dancers & athletes competing for gold, but you can enjoy live music in the ceilidh tent and take part in a host of family games & attractions. 'Gig at the Gathering' returns for the fifth year running with Heron Valley, Beinn Lee & Headland taking to the stage on the Friday night.

Day Price: Adults from £6/ Children from £6/ Under 5’s free. Gig tickets are still TBC.

Accommodation: Hunters Quay Holiday Village has luxury self-catering accommodation available from cosy caravans to deluxe hot tub lodges – www.argyllholidays.com

12-15 SEPTEMBER – CÉOL CHOLASA – SCALASAIG 

Céol Cholasa takes place on the Inner Hebridean island of Colonsay, with a 4 day extravaganza of the finest in traditional music from the UK & beyond. The island may be one of the smallest on the festival circuit (with population of just 120), but that doesn't stop them attracting internationally acclaimed musicians with Flook, Ímar, The Poozies & Adam Holmes and the Embers among this year’s acts, as well as the popular Saturday night ceilidh.

Weekend Price:  A 4-day festival pass is £80

Accommodation: Local accommodation is available here: http://www.colonsay.org.uk/Accommodation

20-22 SEPTEMBER – TARBERT MUSIC FESTIVAL – TARBERT (LOCH FYNE) -

Tarbert Music Festival has been running since the late 1980's, and offers something to look forward to as the Autumn evenings approach. There's a full programme of live music throughout the weekend, with a variety of bands playing in the local bars, before an open-air concert takes place overlooking Loch Fyne on the Sunday afternoon - this has been headlined by Mánran & Skipinnish over the last few years, and there's also a selection of food & drink available.

Price:  Free Entry

Accommodation: Local accommodation is available here: http://www.tarbertonline.com/accommodation-tarbert/

27-29 SEPTEMBER – JURA MUSIC FESTIVAL – CRAIGHOUSE 

Now in its 26th year, The Isle of Jura Musical Festival is a well-established favourite which has cemented its place at the end of the annual festival calendar. The community-run initiative hosts a weekend packed with live performances, workshops, sessions & craic, bringing some of the biggest names in the traditional scene to an island where there are 30 times more deer than people. The main event is the Sunday night concert in the co-operage, where we're expecting an announcement soon, after Skipinnish’ energetic finalé last year.

Price:  Prices vary for individual events, check website for further info.

Accommodation: No camping onsite, but a range of accommodation (including campsites) available nearby: http://isleofjura.scot/isle-of-jura-accommodation/

 18-20 OCTOBER – PILLAGE IN THE VILLAGE – ARROCHAR 

Held at the Slanj Bar & Restaurant in Arrochar, Pillage in the Village returns for its second year in 2019 with live folk and acoustic music throughout the weekend. This promises a relaxed vibe with an additional open mic area as well as delicious food, local ales and a range of stalls. It’s dog friendly as well.

Price:  Free Entry

Accommodation: Free overnight moho parking is available but booking in advance is advisable. There are a number of hotels in the area as well

AND A LITTLE BIT FURTHER AFIELD… (But still easily accessible from Argyll)

17-18 MAY – BEÒ FESTIVAL – ARMADALE -

Set in the beautiful and enchanting Armadale Castle Gardens on the Isle of Skye, Beò Festival makes its debut in 2019 featuring some of the champions of the West Coast cèilidh scene – The Vatersay Boys, Trail West, Gunna Sound & Beinn Lee are just some of the acts taking to the stage.

Weekend Price:  Tickets from £80 (Over 16’s only) 

Accommodation: Camping is available onsite for an additional cost. Alternatively self-catering and hotel accommodation is available here www.isleofskye.com/accommodation

7-9 JUNE – ARRAN FOLK FESTIVAL – BRODICK 

Arran Folk Festival returns for an incredible 25th year at the start of June, offering the best in folk music within incredible surroundings. There are free afternoon sessions in the Douglas Hotel, whilst evening concerts will be held in the Lagg Distillery, followed by late night sessions. Artists include Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter, Daimh & The Ledger.

Weekend Price: Prices vary for individual events, check website for further info

Accommodation: Self-catering & B&B accommodation nearby – http://www.arranaccommodationguide.com/

 14-16 JUNE – KILLIN MUSIC FESTIVAL – KILLIN

Formerly known as Killin Folk Festival, Killin Music Festival delivers a weekend packed with live music, supported by a festival fringe featuring bar sessions, workshops, kids’ activities, competitions and even a pipe band. This year the festival is headed up by Trail West, Elephant Sessions, Siobhan Miller & more; it’s set to be one to remember.

Weekend Price: Adults from £69/ Children from £25/ Under 5s free

Accommodation: Self-catering & B&B accommodation nearby – https://www.killin.info/guides/accommodation/

30 AUGUST – 1 SEPTEMBER – MILLPORT COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL – ISLE OF CUMBRAE - 

Previously known as the Millport Country & Western Weekend, Millport Country Music Festival has gone from strength to strength during its 24-year existence, with a 3000-capacity marquee hosting the best in country music. As well as a grand parade, line-dancing, funfair and... wait for it - hot dog eating competitions - the event welcomes international stars with the 2019 line-up set to be announced soon.

Weekend Price: Tickets from £89. Buy tickets here: http://millportcountrymusic.com/ticket-info/

Accommodation: There’s a host of local accommodation here http://millport.org/