Scotland’s first urban sports festival jumps into Glasgow

Some of Scotland’s most talented young athletes are set to skate, jump and roll into Glasgow this summer as the nation’s first urban sports festival arrives in the city to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

On Saturday 25th August, a derelict site on the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal will be transformed into a vibrant events space featuring parkour, skateboard and BMX showcases, public try-out sessions, a street food village, and art installations as part of the inaugural Youth Urban Games. The entire 5,000 spectator event, from branding through to the opening ceremony, will be designed by a steering group made up of Glasgow’s young people, who are being encouraged to register their interest at

Hosted by Scottish Canals with support from SportInspired, Glasgow City Council, and Glasgow Life, the free-to-watch event will put Scotland’s young people in the spotlight, celebrating their talents, contributions and creating new opportunities for them to shine. The Youth Urban Games (YUG 2018) is supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund, managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Josie Saunders, Head of Corporate Affairs at Scottish Canals, said: “North Glasgow has undergone a revolution in recent years and it’s fast becoming one of Scotland’s most vibrant urban sports destinations. 2018 is the Year of Young People and it’s the perfect time to bring the first-ever Youth Urban Games to the city to mark the next stage of that transformation.

“Scotland’s young people will be at the heart of the Games, shaping every aspect of this incredible event and showcasing their talents in everything from design and photography to parkour and skateboarding. The Youth Urban Games will show the world what our young people are made of at a unique festival that’s set to dazzle locals and visitors alike.”

More than 100 of the best young BMX, parkour and skateboard athletes in Scotland will showcase their skills at the Youth Urban Games. The parkour athletes will flip, jump and roll through a series of demos, while the BMX and skateboard athletes will be judged for their style and skill in a series of stunts demonstrated by world-class international athletes. Sign-ups for the showcase will open in mid-June, with more information available at

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop added: “This is a special opportunity for young people to take forward the transformation of the Forth & Clyde Canal and use their creative talents to create an unforgettable experience for the local community and visitors across the country to enjoy.

“The Youth Urban Games is an exciting addition to the Year of Young People initiative. I know from speaking with young people that sport is one of their biggest passions and this event is a fantastic chance for them to witness some of our country’s incredible young athletes. I look forward to seeing young people’s vision and ideas come to life at the event.”

Designed for young people by young people, the Youth Urban Games will offer a huge host of opportunities for Glasgow’s 16 to 26-year-olds. The city’s aspiring event managers, future marketeers, ambitious artists, budding musicians, and promising photographers will have the chance to shape the event and are being encouraged to register their interest on the YUG 2018 website.  

The Youth Urban Games will build on an 18-month programme implemented by Scottish Canals and SportInspired in 2017 that saw 1,000 primary school and 150 secondary school pupils gain lasting health and employability benefits by planning, delivering and participating in urban sports events - from event concept and management to site set up to on-the-day promotion. The same group will lead on the design and delivery of the opening ceremony of the Games.

Richard Raynes, CEO of SportInspired, said: “We are incredibly excited to have partnered with Scottish Canals for the Youth Urban Games. Since May 2017, we have taken the young people of North Glasgow on a journey through our legacy programmes, designed to ignite and grow their passion for participating in urban sports, and help them to reap the benefits associated with living healthier, fuller lives with positive goals and aspirations.

“They have been developing their skills and building their confidence through workshops, which will be brought together at the climactic event on 25th August, where the fantastic and enthusiastic young people of Glasgow will be celebrated and inspire generations to come.”

As well as the Youth Urban Games, visitors to the city will be able to explore the many events, activities and unique sights offered by the Glasgow Canal Festival. Taking place on the same day as the Games, the festival will feature live music, street food, crafts and activities – and the Glasgow Canal Dragon Boat Race. Now in its second year, the festival is organised by Scottish Canals, Glasgow City Council, National Theatre of Scotland, The Whisky Bond, Queens Cross Housing Association, and various canalside communities and businesses

The festival celebrates the ongoing transformation of the area, which in recent years has seen the creation of a flourishing cultural quarter featuring the likes of the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera, and the creative hub of The Whisky Bond. Urban sports also sit at the heart of the area, with Pinkston Watersports – Scotland’s only urban white water course – and Glasgow Wake Park located on the banks of the canal.

For more information on the Youth Urban Games, see

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