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Five things to do in Scotland this week — from the refugee festival to raft racing



1. Refugee Festival Scotland

This diverse, vibrant arts and community festival sets out to shine a light on the creativity and culture that people from refugee backgrounds bring to life in Scotland. It’s also a great chance to connect with new Scots and show appreciation for the diversity they bring to our nation. The ten-day programme features more than 100 events across the country and there’s something for everyone, whether you want to get a flavour of arts and music or discover more about how to help with activism. Learn about celebrating Eid, join in with some street football or support the LGBT Unity five-a-side tournament. You can try your hand at African cooking, join a kite-making workshop or dip into one of several film screenings.
Details Jun 14-23, all over Scotland,

Alberta Whittle is a Glasgow-based multi-disciplinary artist


2. Alberta Whittle on Bute

The history of Bute is a gift for a contemporary artist who loves digging deep for symbols of power and connection. Scottish-Barbadian Alberta Whittle has long been interested in water and waterways, particularly the inner coastal passages in the Clyde Estuary and Transatlantic slave routes, and now she’s siting some new artwork on the island. Some of the work in the exhibition was inspired by Bute’s history as a Norse parliamentary site, taking on ideas about roots of power, empire and ancestry, and she’ll also draw parallels between Scottish bothies and Barbadian chattel houses ― symbols of black resistance and Caribbean aesthetics. Definitely worth a ferry ride.
Details To Aug 25, Mount Stuart, Bute,

3. Six the Musical

Which of Henry VIII’s wives had the worst experience? In this deservedly successful musical, each of those brutalised women takes to the stage to tell their own story. It’s presented in the style of a pop concert, with catchy songs, fun costumes and kick-ass attitudes. The show, which counts a Tony among its many awards, had its debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has since toured the world. If you can’t make this date, it’s coming back to the King’s Theatre in Glasgow next spring (Feb 25-Mar 1, 2025), or go see Firebrand, the new film about the king’s final consort, Catherine Parr.
Details Jun 11-15, Edinburgh Playhouse,

The Borders Book Festival children’s programme kicks off on June 15

The Borders Book Festival children’s programme kicks off on June 15

4. Borders Book Festival

What a tempting buffet of cleverness this festival has laid out for us on its 21st birthday. The One Day author David Nicholls is talking about his new novel, You Are Here, and the comics Janey Godley and Jo Caulfield will share insights from their memoirs. If you prefer politics, Wes Streeting will be there to tell all about his journey from poverty to becoming an MP and the shadow health secretary, and the former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson will be chatting about his new book. Look out too for Alexander McCall Smith, Rory Bremner and the nature expert Kate Humble. The children’s programme comes alive on the Saturday and Sunday, with a Beano comic-making workshop, where former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo will invite younger readers to discover the joy of Shakespeare and much more.
Details Jun 13-16, Harmony Garden, Melrose,

The June 15 festival will feature live music and water sports

The June 15 festival will feature live music and water sports


5. Edinburgh Canal Festival

The Water of Leith quite rightly gets lots of attention, but the Union Canal, which starts (or ends, depending on your perspective) in Fountainbridge and winds its way west, is also brimming with life. At this day-long festival you can stroll between Lochrin Basin and Harrison Park West, joining in with various activities such as a free-to-enter raft race (equipment will be provided but you need to book ahead and dress up). You’ll also get a chance to watch canoe polo, listen to live music, grab a snack, dance to a live ceilidh band, marvel at a capoeira demonstration or watch performers from the Rowbank organisation on stilts, paddleboards and boats. If ever an event deserved decent weather.
Details Jun 15, Edinburgh,

Sharleen Spiteri of Texas

Sharleen Spiteri of Texas

And one to book ahead … Texas

Rounding off their greatest hits tour with a couple of dates at home, Texas have picked the biggest venue in Scotland — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hurry to get tickets.
Details Sep 14-15, OVO Hydro, Glasgow,

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