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Things to do in Scotland this month

Our top picks of events happening in cities throughout the country

With its rugged landscapes and dramatic coastlines, Scotland is amazing at any time of year ­– and its cities are full of character too.

There’s Edinburgh with its age-old castle and enchanting Royal Mile, as well as its fabulous theatre scene and the Fringe. Home to some of the UK’s best live music venues, Glasgow is always buzzing with energy while history comes alive in the ancient capital of Perth. Plus, from Aberdeen and Inverness to towns in the Highlands, you’ll discover culture and arts, festivals, outdoor adventure and much more.

No matter where you choose to spend your time, Scottish cities boast an exciting mix of entertainment each month – and here’s just a small selection of what’s on offer in August.

Spotlight on: August bank holiday weekend

One of many great things about Scotland in August is its early bank holiday – which makes the first weekend of this month a long one!

Enjoy a brand new music festival, Playground, in Glasgow’s Rouken Glen Park from 2 – 4 August featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill, Groove Armada and Hot Chip.

Now in its 18th year, Coloursfest 2019 returns to Glasgow on 3 August at intu Braehead Arena headlined by Afrojack, alongside Brennan Heart, Carta, Gareth Emergy, Laidback Luke and many more.


Another Scottish festival favourite is Summer Nights at Glasgow’s iconic Kelvingrove Bandstand. Spanning two weekends of incredible music, you can see Patti Smith on 1 August, Father John Misty on 2 August and The Human League on 3 August, followed by The National on 6 – 7 August, Echo & the Bunnymen on 8 August, Bloc Party on 9 August and Hue & Cry on 10 August.

The August bank holiday weekend also brings crowd favourites like Hot Dub Time Machine at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange on 2 August, The Passing Sages at PJ Molloys in Dunfermline on 3 August, Dead Kennedys at Glasgow Garage on 4 August and Camera Obscura at Saint Luke’s in Glasgow on 5 – 6 August.

One of the most important voices in British hip hop, catch Akala: In Conversation at Teviot Debating Hall in Edinburgh on 2 – 6 August, as well as a live music performance at Liquid Room on 3 August.

Award-winning Scottish comedian Gary Meikle, aka the iBrow Guy, shows off new material (and new brows) at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 2 August.

Gary Meikle

Football fans can get their fill of action on 3 August when Celtic FC take on St Johnstone at Glasgow’s Celtic Park.

All the family will be wowed by the gravity-defying stunts of Circus Extreme which has descended on Soar at intu Braehead in Glasgow until 4 August.

And yeee haawww, Funbox is presenting The Wild West Show at Howden Park Centre in Livingston from 3 – 4 August before heading to Perth Concert Hall on 11 August.

It’s time for Edinburgh Festival Fringe!

The world’s biggest celebration of the arts takes over the Scottish capital from 2 – 26 August. Treat yourself to an array of entertainment ranging from theatre, music and dance to children’s shows, exhibitions and much more.

For a preview and to get tips for Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019, head over to our blog.

If you love to laugh, then this is also the perfect chance to check out many of the country’s best and brightest comedians.

2017 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner John Robins will be there performing his new stand-up show Hot Shame, in the Pleasence Courtyard through 25 August. The sequel to his smash hit The Darkness of Robins, he’ll be touring it in venues across the UK later this year.

Britain’s beloved pub landlord Al Murray brings his new show, Landlord of Hope and Glory, to Assembly George Square Gardens from 2 – 11 August.

Al Murray

Celeste Barber, who’s known as “the funniest woman on Instagram”, will appear for one night only on 3 August at EICC.

See Craig Ferguson in Hobo Fabulous during a one-off gig at Edinburgh Playhouse on 11 August. It’s his first stand-up show in the UK for 25 years.

Catch Welsh funnyman Rhod Gilbert at EICC with The Book of John tour on 14 – 25 August.

Also at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019,  Massaoke – A Night at the Musicals rolls into the Corn Exchange from 16 – 17 August for some rollicking sing-alongs with the words to your favourite musicals projected on a giant screen.


For something a little different, go to Making a Murderer Part 2 from 11 – 15 August at New Town Theatre where true crime fans can hear two high-profile lawyers, Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin, talk about the hit Netflix documentary series in which they fought for Brendan Dassey to be released from prison.

Or enjoy an evening of theatrical mayhem accompanied by a three-course meal during the Fawlty Towers Live Themed Dinner Show at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton Hotel from 2 – 13 and 15 – 26 August when Basil, Sybil, Manuel and Polly will open their notorious dining room so you can relive the golden era of television comedy.

Other things to do

August is a something-for-everyone kind of month – with plenty of musical entertainment as well as some sport, comedy and family fun to choose from.

First of all, several outdoor concert series are taking place in cities across Scotland that boast heavy-hitting line-ups.

In Edinburgh, there’s Summer Sessions at Princes Street Gardens from 7 – 18 August featuring Florence + the Machine, Primal Scream, CHVRCHES, Lewis Capaldi, James, Courteeners and Madness.

Glasgow Summer Sessions takes over Bellahouston Park on 16 – 17 and 25 August with performances from The Cure, Foo Fighters and The 1975, respectively.

Put on a crop top, a pair of leg warmers and travel back in time with Dundee ’80s Festival. Held at Slessor Gardens on 24 August, you can dance the night away with ABC, Hue & Cry, Midge Ure, Go West and China Crisis.

As a final blowout before the end of summer, head for Indian Summer 001 on 29 August at Glasgow’s SWG3 to hear an array of artists led by Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett.

Want to discover the stars of tomorrow? Then don’t miss out on Summer Nights with Coors Light Presents at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. Running throughout August, you’ll uncover some of Scotland’s freshest talent including Take Today, Cheap Teeth, Cold Years, Anna Sweeney, Luke La Volpe, Man of Moon, Tamzene, Shredd, Pleasure Heads, The 101, Mt Doubt, The vignettes, LYLO, Black Dove, The Eves, HYYTS, Gallus and Josef.

You can also support homegrown Scottish talent when Fat Cops and Best Picture play The Admiral in Glasgow on 14 August.

And don’t miss indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs when they make two huge outdoor appearances on 16 August at East Links, Montrose and 17 August at Northern Meeting Park, Inverness.


In addition to all of this music, there are big events for sports fans to enjoy.

Things will be tense at The Ironworks Legends of Darts Masters tournament on 23 August in Inverness as John Lowe, Bob Anderson, Dennis Priestley and Peter Manley compete.

Take advantage of a fantastic opportunity to enjoy international rugby in the summer sunshine by attending the Scottish Rugby Summer Tests. Be there when Scotland clashes with France at Edinburgh’s BT Murrayfield on 24 August.

Embrace your inner wrestler and get ready for a night of body slams during ICW: Fight Club at the Glasgow Garage on 25 August.

Fancy a giggle? Nick Offerman, who played Ron Swanson on the hit comedy Parks & Recreation is bringing his latest stand-up show, All Rise, to O2 Academy Glasgow on 28 August.

Join David Rudolf, defence attorney for Michael Peterson in the hit Netflix documentary The Staircase, during an evening of discussion about the case and TV series at New Town Theatre in Edinburgh on 6 – 10 August.

Calling all families! Milkshake Monkey’s Musical is coming to Her Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen on 13 – 14 August and it’s full of laughter, audience interaction and great fun that will have everyone up on their feet.

Your favourite TV, movie and comic stars will converge during Film & Comic Con at intu Braehead Arena in Glasgow on 17 – 18 August 2019. Take part in a host of activities including photoshoots, panels and autograph sessions as well as browse stalls full of memorabilia.

Interested in going to the theatre? News Hacks is a fresh take on the news and those who make it starring Jimmy Chisholm and Elaine MacKenzie-Ellis at Oran Mor, Glasgow on 25 August.

Based on the beloved movie, Legally Blonde the Musical is a fabulously fun musical coming to Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre on 29 – 31 August.

Live music venues

Looking for a gig to see? From arenas and world-class concert halls to historic theatres and hole-in-the-wall bars, we’ve rounded up some of August’s music offerings as a starting point.

Stadium and arena shows:

Mid-sized venues with big atmosphere:

New music to have on your radar:

Iconic attractions

Scotland is famous for many things – from historic castles and bagpipe playing, to whisky and the Loch Ness monster. Indeed there’s a lot of tradition not to be missed in August around this beautiful country.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo runs from 2 – 24 August. One of the most spectacular military and cultural shows in the world, it’s set against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. This year’s theme is Kaleidoscope and explores colour, music and light as inspired by the optical invention created by Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster in 1816.

Find out all about craft beers, gins and more at St Andrews Brewing Company. Brewery tours are offered on 2 & 3, 9 & 10, 16 & 17, 23 & 24 and 30 & 31 August at the company’s taproom in St Andrews – where you’ll enjoy imbibing three 1/3 pints and get a logo glass to take home.

Piping is on centre stage in Glasgow this month. Head to Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 13 August for the International Quartet Competition 2019. Eight pipe bands from across the globe are sending four of their best pipers to compete in this head-to-head challenge.


Two days later, on 15 August, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall hosts the Pipe Idol Grand Final 2019. After fierce competition among talented young pipers – which you can watch throughout the week in the Street Cafe at The National Piping Centre – four finalists will vie to be crowned champion.

Also on 15 August at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Piping Live! presents The Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Recital Challenge 2019 which pits four top pipers against each other as they perform a medley of their favourite tunes. Confirmed for this year are 2018 champion Angus MacColl along with Stuart Liddell, Callum Beaumont and Finlay Johnston.

And if that’s not enough piping for you, head to Elgin Town Hall on 31 August to catch the Red Hot Chilli Pipers who are widely regarded as the most famous bagpipe band on the planet.

You can do all this and more in Scotland this August. For full details, head to our Scottish Cities Guide.

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