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Glasgow's Iconic Music Scene

As the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music and UK’s top cultural and creative city (European Commission 2019), it is no surprise that Glasgow’s vibrant music scene is one of the liveliest in the UK.

From gigs in small venues and bars to incredible shows in arenas and city parks, Glasgow is a hotspot for live performance. Whether bagpipes or beats, traditional or techno, Glasgow is not afraid to make some noise.

Music is in Glasgow’s DNA; if you like music, you will love Glasgow.

Barrowland Ballroom, GlasgowBarrowland Ballroom


Live performances every night of the week in Glasgow's amazing venues

Glasgow has a reputation for having a great selection of gigs on every night of the week. Enjoy a music scene that stretches across a whole spectrum of genres and takes place in venues of varying sizes and styles!

The iconic Barrowland Ballroom, famous amongst fans and musicians, emits an atmosphere like no other, whilst smaller venues such as King Tut's Wah Wah HutNice n’ Sleazy and The Glad Cafe ooze coolness and offer a great place just to hang out. 

For large-scale concerts, there is The SSE Hydro, which is one of the world’s busiest live entertainment venues, alongside the likes of Madison Square Gardens.

The Glasgow Concert Halls, which includes, the Royal Concert Hall, Old Fruitmarket and City Halls provide a more traditional setting for all types of music.

There are also many outdoor spaces that present a scenic backdrop to accompany live performances, such as Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre and the city's expansive parks, which host music festivals throughout the summer.

Clubs such as Sub Club and The Berkeley Suite are packed full of music fans every week, whilst SWG3 has been hailed as putting Glasgow in line with the likes of Berlin and New York.


See the best international and local musicians perform in the city

Glasgow lives and breathes music with 365 days of live performances every year. From megastars to DJs, from classically trained to DIY local acts, creatives converge in Glasgow. 

The city acts as a magnet, attracting new voices and the finest musicians alike. Two of the nation's three music-based national performing organisations make their home in the city, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) and Scottish Opera.

Global stars return to Glasgow time and time again to perform as part of their European tours. In recent years, the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Jay Z & Beyonce, Radiohead, Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar have performed at the country's national stadium, Hampden ParkThe SSE Hydro and to revellers as the sun goes down over expansive city parks at music festivals. In 2019, The Cure, The Foo Fighters, Pink and Ariana Grande are just some of the big name acts set to perform.

Alongside megastars, there’s a vibrant DIY music scene, with indie record labels releasing some of the most interesting music around, local bands perfecting their art in city bars and venues, and everyday people organising shows purely for the love of music. Bands hailing from or launching their career in the city, include the likes of Chvrches, Franz Ferdinand, Belle & Sebastian, The Twilight Sad, Snow Patrol, Travis, Texas, Frightened Rabbit, Mogwai, Twin Atlantic and many more.


king tuts wah wah hut

No matter what type of music you are seeing, you can guarantee a great crowd in Glasgow! Make connections with like-minded others as you watch, dance and immerse yourself in incredible music at one of the many gigs, festivals or nightclubs in the city. 

"The best, most mental crowd in the world."

Ed Sheeran

Traditional Scottish music in Glasgow

Old Fruitmarket Old Fruitmarket - Gaelle Beri

Glasgow is home to Celtic Connections – the largest annual winter music festival of its kind and the UK's premier celebration of Celtic music. Thousands of musicians descend on Glasgow each January for the folk, roots and world music festival. 

In the summer, Glasgow plays host to the world’s biggest week of piping! The annual Piping Live! festival is a week-long celebration culminating in 8000 musicians taking part in the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow Green.

For those looking for a more informal and intimate session to tap your toes to, then check out the Highland triangle of pubs in Finnieston, including The Park Bar, Snaffle Bit and Islay Inn, for a range of planned and spontaneous folk music sessions.




Find out about Glasgow's rich musical heritage

Glasgow Music City Tour Bag

From the world’s oldest surviving music hall to the venue that launched the career of Oasis; the city’s musical heritage will astound. Take a city walking tour as part of a music pilgrimage to uncover such fascinating stories.

The city and people's passion for music was the catalyst for one fan to create Glasgow Music City Tours. Follow in the footsteps of Glasgow’s greatest artists during a tour exploring the city’s rich musical history and discover fun facts about bands, DJs, venues and a few legendary tales of Glasgow’s monumental music scene.

Get a taste of Glasgow’s folk music scene with a walking tour, delicious dinner and live music package created by Glasgow Music City Tours and Mharsanta. The Scottish Trad Trail comprises an hour's walking tour through the Merchant City to hear about Glasgow's past and present traditional folk musicians, followed by a hearty two course meal at Mharsanta and a 90 minute live session from local folk musicians.

The Walking Heads Music Tour is an award-winning audio walking tour exploring the sights, sounds and stories of Glasgow's music scene. The tour takes you off the beaten track on four music-driven routes.

"Fans the world over know that it's the city's unrivalled music scene that really embodies Glasgow's energy and swagger."

National Geographic Traveler



Glasgow's year round music festival scene


The city’s year-round programme of music festivals adds to its worldwide recognition. Visiting and home-grown, indoor and outdoor, one-offs and year-round – Glasgow's festival scene has it all. BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and BBC's 6 Music Festival are just a couple of the big name festivals that have chosen Glasgow as their destination of choice in the past few years with audiences and musicians praising the host city at every turn. 

Taking place annually are the summer festivals set within the city’s expansive parks. There is Glasgow Summer Sessions in the south’s Bellahouston Park attracting huge hitting headliners; TRNSMT, from the organisers of T in the Park, at Glasgow Green; and the Summer Nights at the Bandstand series showcasing worldwide and local talent at the gloriously restored Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre.

Summer Sessions Gig
Summer Sessions. Credit: Ryan Johnston

As well as the summer outdoor events, there are a number of music festivals covering various genres. From the longest running music event in the city, the Glasgow Jazz Festival, to Scotland’s biggest electronic music festival, Riverside Festival – you can see that no matter your musical taste or venue preference, you’ll find a festival in Glasgow for you.

For more ideas on what to do when in the city, check out our what's on guide 


 Article last updated:  November, 2019