There’s more to music in the north of Scotland than bagpipes. No matter whether your tastes are traditional, modern or classical, Highlanders love an excuse to party so here is a wee look at some of the best music festival experiences the area has to offer and some of the best places to stay to enjoy them.
Located just a short hop from Inverness Belladrum is a boutique festival that features the very best of Scottish and international artists. With the cancellation of RockNess this is undoubtedly the premier festival in the north and the 2015 edition which takes place from 6th- 8th of August features the Kaiser Chiefs and perennial festival favourites The Proclaimers. Over three nights the site near Beauly offers camping as well as luxury yurts, local cuisine, theatre and a huge variety of performers. The festival has built a reputation for being very family-friendly with children under 12 admitted free and a host of activities such as theatre, art and music workshops as well as the music to keep them entertained.
If you don’t fancy a weekend under canvas then check out these luxurious properties within easy reach. Bruiach House is walking distance away and offers accommodation for 10 adults and 4 children while the River Beauly Lodge can sleep 12 and is just a few miles downriver.
The multi-award winning HebCelt returns for its 20th annual festival during 15 – 18 July 2015. This unique event is set against one of the most atmospheric backdrops, the island of Lewis with its distinctive Gaelic culture and heritage.
So what makes this event special? Simply the music you will hear! The starting point is traditional Celtic music but it encompasses so much more, with a huge diverse line up of contemporary, rock, indie-folk and world musicians, all with their roots in traditional music.
The setting is Stornoway’s Lews Castle grounds which also makes a great jumping off point to explore the wider natural beauty and archaeological treasures the area has to offer. And don’t forget the island community who reach out and offer a welcoming hand to all to make this one of the most special festival experiences in the calendar.
Peninsula Cottage is just a handy ten minute drive away from the vibrant night life of Stornoway but offers a secluded and peaceful spot to recover from your festival exertions.
Mendelssohn on Mull is a week long festival features some of the most distinguished names in chamber music as well as the most promising newcomers in the country. It was inspired by the wild beauty that drew composer Felix Mendelssohn to this region, and led to his renowned Hebridean Overture.
Trying to sum up what makes Mendelssohn on Mull such a unique and special experience isn’t an easy thing. Maybe it’s the diverse venues scattered across the island, from the impressive and contemplative Iona Abbey, the atmospheric Duart Castle to the tiny Creich church beside a windswept loch. Creich seats 50 lucky people, who can experience a unique and intimate performance of chamber music, so close as to be able to touch the musicians. To top that, the performances are all free.
Photo credit: Hebceltfest