Year of Young People events set to kick-start summer

From brass band competitions, film screenings and poetry slams to music festivals, graphic novel exhibitions and carnival parades, a wealth of events, co-designed by Scotland’s young people, is set to celebrate the Year of Young People 2018, capturing the spirit of summertime, as well as the interest of parents for school-holiday inspiration throughout June and July.

Kicking off the events in June is the North-East’s largest food and drink showcase, Taste of Grampian which returns to the Thainstone Centre in Inverurie on 2 June. In addition to a wide range of high-quality food and drink produce from the area, masterclasses and cookery demonstrations by celebrity chefs, you will also be able to get a taste of Grampian’s best young bands, singers and musicians on the brand new Year of Young People Stage. Fun for your ears and taste buds is guaranteed!

On 3 June, Custom House Quay in Greenock will be transformed by Evolve Fest 2018, a vibrant summer festival with fun for all, planned by Inverclyde’s young people. Try your hands at arts, crafts and upcycling during pop-up workshops, see two unique films created by young filmmakers, dance along to brand-new music composed by young musicians working with ‘Love and Money’ frontman James Grant, enjoy specially choreographed performances by the Beacon Youth Dance Club and Clydeview Academy students and be inspired by a visual art exhibition created by local high school students from St Columba's High School, Gourock.

Exciting collaborative project Celebrate ART is set to showcase and celebrate young people’s talents and creativity through visual art. The Art and Identity Project at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh works with underrepresented young people to enable them to explore their identity – come see a showcase of their work on 16 and 17 June. Artist Ruth Barker has been working with young people at Tramway, Glasgow who have been exploring their place in the world through projection, sound, storytelling, printmaking and sculpture resulting in an exhibition which will be on display from 7 July to 26 August. A third project  will be on show at Templar Arts and Leisure Centre in Tarbert later in the year.

Edinburgh International Film Festival dedicates an entire programme strand to The Young & the Wild this year, featuring an exciting programme of film screenings, masterclasses, onstage interviews, workshops and advice for 15 to 25 year olds who are passionate about all things moving image and interested in the filmmaking industry. Stop by The Young & the Wild HQ at the Cornerstone Centre, St Johns Church in Edinburgh from 22 to 30 June.

A music stage hosted by Ministry of Sound, a young entrepreneurs’ market, a theatre takeover, special exhibitions – all this and much more is waiting for you at Diverse CiTay Festival in Perth on 23 June. A colourful carnival parade will snake its way from South Inch to North Inch; The House and Garage Orchestra, Jack Maynard and Be Charlotte will be taking to the stage and Perth College UHI Sports are hosting Health and Wellbeing villages.

On 30 June, be blown away by the National Mining Museum Scotland’s first Annual Youth Brass Band Competition at the Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange! Youth brass bands from across the country will be showcasing their skills and you’ll also be able to learn why brass bands were such an integral part of mining communities. If the day got you in the mood for dancing, stay on for the Mining Museum Late: Billy Elliot and boogie the night away. Get hands on with the museum’s collection, recreate some iconic scenes from the movie in the green room and let the DJ take you back to the 80s before you sit back, relax and enjoy a screening of this classic on the big screen.

Watch them go at the speed of light at IRONKIDS Scotland (29-30 June). Staged at venues along the legendary IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon route across Edinburgh and the Lothians, this new addition gives young people aged 3 to 14 a chance to show the world what they are made of during mass-participation running events with routes between 500m and 2km. With a firm focus on participation and fun for all, IRONKIDS Scotland aims to inspire children to lead a healthy and active lifestyle with registrations still open.

Comic fans will be able to get up close with their superheroes as well as their creators at Glasgow Comic Con on 30 June at the Royal Concert Hall Glasgow. Rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in comics, including Kris Anka, Annie Wu, Mahmud Asrar and Jen Bartel will be young aspiring artists from BAME backgrounds who have created their very own graphic novel anthology during the Full Colour Project which will be on display at the CCA Glasgow from 26 June to 1 July.

Do you have what it takes to become the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam Master 2018? Young people from across Scotland are invited to hone their skills in poetry, music and performance during workshops leading up to the second Scottish Youth Poetry Slam with the final showdown held on 31 October at the Beacon Arts Centre, Inverclyde. See the country’s most talented young wordsmiths go head to head in this fast paced, good natured, highly inclusive competition - be prepared for audience participation!

Scotland’s largest free music festival is back, bigger and better than ever! Youth Beatz 2018 is celebrating its 10th anniversary at Park Farm Showfield, Dumfries (30 June – 1 July)  with a spectacular line-up of artists including Sigala, Jax Jones, Maggie Lindemann as well as a whole host of amazing young talent from across Scotland on the new Upload! Stage. And it doesn’t stop there, you can also see live comedy and theatre, explore the young entrepreneurs’ marketplace and have fun with sports activities and colour fights.

Even more world-class music awaits you at Tiree Music Festival (13-15 July) in one of the most stunning festival locations ever – complete with picture–perfect white sands and world-famous surf. The brand-new ELEVATE STAGE has been programmed entirely by young people and will showcase fresh young talent – come along and discover the next big names in music!

Last but not least, exciting new Young Writers Festival Write Here Write Now (27 July) will bring you plays, monologues, songs and poetry developed by young aspiring talent. The young people have developed their work with the help of experienced professional writers and will present their art at Paisley Town Hall while also running the festival behind the scenes.

Aimee, a member of the National Mining Museum Scotland Youth Panel, said: “Being part of the NMMS Youth Panel and the Year of Young People has been the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I’ve gained real, hands-on experiences which most people my age would never be able to get. It’s great to see our ideas come to life as we create, plan and run our own exhibition and events for young people, by young people!”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We are delighted to be supporting such a fantastic range of events in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018. All events have been co-designed by our young people and with the summer holidays approaching, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase their creative spirit and bright ideas, and for locals and visitors alike to enjoy fun-filled days out all across the country.”

Other highlights across the Year of Young People events programme this June and July include Processions, a walk in Edinburgh to commemorate the victory of the womens' suffrage movement in securing women the right to vote (10 June), a chivalric display of strength at Spectacular Jousting at Linlithgow Palace (30 June-1 July) and Caerlaverock Castle (28-29 July), board game exhibition ‘GAME PLAN: Board Games Rediscovered’ at New Lanark World Heritage Site and a riot of fun at Dundee Summer Streets Festival (21-22 July).

The Year of Young People events programme is running throughout the whole of 2018, for more information on events taking place beyond June and July please visit

Photo credit: Edinburgh International Film Festival

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