Top tips!

In a few short days we will be dancing in a field, surrounded by new friends and old, wishing the weekend could last just a little bit longer.

Here’s our top tips for making the best out of your weekend:

  1. Listen to the playlist…

    Check out the acts before you come, learn the words to your faves and get in the festival mood in your lounge. Our Spotify playlist is here!

  2. Get with the programme…

    grab a copy of our programme, buy a pint and settle down to half an hour of highlighting your must see, wanna see and will-die-if-I-don’t-see! Whether its films, artists, sights or crafts, you’ll find all the details in our programme.

  3. Discover someone new…

    the best thing about festivals, in our humble opinion, is finding a new band you’ve never heard of, dancing like crazy or swaying with your pals, buying the t-shirt, the CD, the mug and the limited edition vinyl, getting it all signed, and giving up work to follow them on their next tour (OK, so the last one might just be me!).

    For a few suggestions check out our blogs on ‘5 unexpected artists’ and ‘9 ones to watch’.

  4. Try something different…

    watch a weird selection of film shorts, learn to shoot a bow, down some oysters & enjoy a new cocktail. Then do it all over again the next day!

  5. Take time to chill-out…

    grab a picnic and a cocktail, sit in the (hopefully!) sun, switch off that phone, chat with your pals, and simply ‘be’ for a few hours.

  6. Explore…

    our 5 stages, circus area, archery, campfire, cinema, craft tent, cheesy disco, food and drink, shopping, photo booth and that’s all just onsite and included in your ticket ūüôā

    You can also head out to Mount Stuart for free entry with your ButeFest tickets, or try out the open top tour bus.

  7. Get in the spirit…

    and dress-up medieval style on Sunday!

  8. Stay a little longer…

    Bute is a beautiful place, and if you’ve come all this way, why not linger a little longer? Check out our reasons to stay.




Quick facts

Getting here

We consider ourselves to be the most accessible Scottish island, so getting here shouldn’t be too much trouble.

There are two ferry routes onto Bute and they both run regular services from early in the morning to evening time: Wemyss Bay – Rothesay and Colintraive – Rhubodach. You don’t need to book on our ferry and you need to arrive just 10 minutes before the ferry sails (it’s a good idea to be earlier if you want to be certain of getting a particular ferry though). The Wemyss Bay ferry connects with the train service from Glasgow. Cancellations or delays are rare, but info on timetables and sailing status is available on the CalMac website.

More info on both routes and other, more creative, ways to get here:

Staying here

If you’re staying onsite, then the campsite opens on Thursday evening, around 5pm, and closes Monday at noon, just enough time to sleep off the night before! The main arena opens around noon on Friday and we jump straight in with live music. It’s then open until 10am on Monday for you to grab breakfast.

Camping tickets are ¬£5pp for one night or the whole weekend and you can purchase them on the Friday morning from the ticket desk. You don’t need a camping wristband for Thursday night. With a Young Scot or NUS Card, camping will be offered free of charge, and children (up to 11) are free anyway.

Wearing here

It’s always a good idea to bring waterproofs and wellies, midge repellent, sun cream, and something to sit on. Sunday is medieval fancy dress day, so dig out those princess hats and swords!

We have the fantastic Priya for festival gear purchases on site, and essentials in our merchandise and on the Coop stand, not to mention our on-site hairdresser and face painters!

Staying safe here

As with any outdoor event, sun cream, hats, water, waterproofs are all an essential part of staying safe and looking after yourself. Illegal drugs won’t be tolerated and there will be a police presence on site. Our welfare team is on hand to look after lost children, anyone who needs time out, and to help with any personal issues; we have a qualified first aid service on site too. Look after yourselves, and look after each other!

For more info, check out our Good2Know page! 

Win tickets to ButeFest!

Our pals over at Visit Bute are running a prize-draw to win tickets to the fabulous ButeFest 2017 and ferry vouchers!

Yep, 2 minutes of your time to fill in a short survey is all it takes, and you too will be in with a chance to get a pair of adult tickets and a whole £50 worth of ferry travel vouchers Рwhich should cover you for ButeFest 2017 and another trip to Bute!

Before you do you might want to check out our awesome 2017 line-up just here: ButeFest 2017.

Yes please, let me enter the prize-draw!


3… days of Awesomeness

By Chris Kinloch


Day 1 – Friday

You’ve bought your tickets, your weekend bag is packed, and it’s time for you to make your way to our beautiful Isle of Bute for ButeFest 2017.

Travel by ferry (like most do), keeping an eye out for porpoises or seals – just some of the fantastic sea life to see whilst on your weekend here. ¬†You might even be lucky enough to be sharing your ferry crossing with one of our many bands and artists; with over 100 bands/artists booked for ButeFest this year, there’s a good chance one of them will be travelling with you.

After pitching your tent right next door to the main arena, or in the quiet section, you’ll be ready to explore everything that Bute & ButeFest has to offer.

Our team of face painters are waiting to give you a new look for the weekend….well something like that, after which you will be ready to check out some of the many lives bands/artists taking to our 3 stages on the opening day.

In between, be sure to sample local tasty craft beer.


Day 2 – Saturday

After a long lie, kickstart your Saturday with a Pilates class in the Vespertine tent to set you up nicely for even more live music across our stages and tents.

Last year, the sun shone on the Saturday at ButeFest and we’re hoping for more of the same this year, so grab your sunshades and take a walk around the site hosting a wide variety of family entertainment all day everyday, or even into the town to check out some of our great shops and scenery.

Be sure to come back if you do wander into town though, and indulge in luscious Loch Fyne Oysters before it’s time to let your hair down, and dance like a crazy thing to even more great music all night long.

Chill out around the fire after what we can guarantee will be a Saturday you’ll never forget, and be desperate for more on the 3rd day of awesomeness.

Day 3 – Sunday

Before your big day 3, you can start your day with a full Scottish Breakfast from one of the many cafés in town, then freshen up with a shower at Rothesay Leisure Centre, right next door to the festival.

Once you’ve had a morning of rest, it’s time to explore for day 3. ¬†Learn how to play the African Drums, or get creative in the craft tent, before checking out the fabulous bands we have lined up to bring down the curtain on day 3 of ButeFest 2017.

Crazy hair styles are a great way to stand out, and our team can sort you out with one. Don’t forget to pick out a new festival outfit from one of our traders now that you’re really feeling the vibe.

Be sure to check out one (or two) of our lush cocktails on offer, and grab your official ButeFest merchandise before the big last night.

Live bands and artists, mixed in between disco’s in the Vespertine tent are the perfect way to enjoy your last night with us, before heading back to camp for a good nights¬†sleep, ready to head home on Monday morning.


Of course these are only suggestions of how to spend your 3 days of awesomeness with us, but we can guarantee that no matter what you decide to keep yourself busy with whilst at the festival, that you will have fun.

Be sure you’re part of it, and buy your tickets today at, or via the Skiddle mobile app.


4… tasty treats!

1. Woodburns Espresso Pizza Bar

Woodburns is a small family firm that makes handmade pizza from local artisan ingredients laid out before the public who choose what they wish to go onto their individual pizza.  The pizzas are then baked in a wood-fired (old oak whisky barrels saved from landfill) clay oven.

This is accompanied by single origin espresso roasted only for them on a weekly basis. Single origin is like a single malt, it commands a higher market price allowing the primary producer to pay their workers higher wages than average fair trade coffee.

Not only were¬†they a finalist at UK Festival Awards 2012, their coffee is drank by Inspector Rebus and his creator Ian Rankin in Edinburgh, where it is sold from our police box kiosks and is recommended in “Scotland the Best” by Pete Irvine, another one of their customers. So, drink like a celeb at ButeFest this year with some gorgeous espresso and carb-up with a delicious pizza.


2. Macqueens of Rothesay

Macqueens from our very own Island of Bute, supply¬†unique, top grade lean, tender and delicious burgers,¬†cut and prepared fresh daily in our busy Butchers shop in the heart of Rothesay.¬†Macqueens are¬†a family run business and online butcher who use only skilled craft butchery methods to guarantee the best you’ll ever taste/

They specialise in a broad range, with all the traditional cuts, including naturally reared Bute grass fed beef from pure Highland Cattle, to Aberdeen Angus along with excellent cross breeds. Pork and Lamb are sourced form the very best suppliers that can be found on the island of Bute and throughout Argyll.

3. Loch Fyne Oysters


From the rugged shores of Loch Fyne itself, just a short drive from Bute, Loch Fyne Oysters Ltd are dedicated to providing the world with Scotland’s finest seafood. They pride themselves on provenance, quality and sustainability and that’s why you’ll find their seafood in award winning and Michelin starred restaurants, prestigious retailers such as Selfridges and Globus and served to corporate guests at Formula 1 and Championship League Finals Рand of course, at ButeFest 2017!

4. Bute Brew

Our lovely local brewery will be back this year with some festival specials. Brewed on the island, by a small family firm, Bute Brew Co was started after a Christmas Day beach barbecue conversation about getting some good beer out and about on Bute.

They’re brewing by hand, in small batches, so the focus for the brewery is on quality, not quantity. Whether it’s the world famous Cock Up Your Beaver or the golden Straad Ass you’re trying, you’re sure to enjoy it!



5… unexpected artists

1. The Skys


The Skys are the leading rock band in Lithuania, dropping into ButeFest on their way to an American tour. Yep, the leading rock band in Lithuania, and probably the best know Lithuanian band outside of Lithuania. They’ve won tons of awards and this is your only opportunity to see The Skys live in Scotland. We can’t wait!

The band have released five albums: ‚ÄúCivilized‚ÄĚ (1997), ‚ÄúDreams‚ÄĚ (1999), ‚ÄúPostmodern Game‚ÄĚ (2004), ‚ÄúColours of the Desert‚ÄĚ (2011) and ‚ÄúJourney through the Skies‚ÄĚ (2015).

2. Africa Entsha

Africa Entsha are an accapella group, playing Gospel, Pop and cover songs. Their performances are from the South African oral tradition, sung in gospel style.

Their repertoire includes a wide variety of songs, sung in Zulu¬†or English, including their very personal version of Shakira’s “Waka Waka”. But at the very heart of the show are the Zulu songs, full of rhythm, style and spirit that deeply belong to this ethnic group. Live, Africa Entsha are completely captivating, and¬†by the end of the show, we reckon you’ll be feeling pretty moved.

They’ve also¬†won numerous awards, including “The Spirit Of The Fringe Award” in Edinburgh 2011, 12 & 13,¬† “The Fringe Review Award” known as Teapot award Brighton Fringe Festival 2013 & 14 also won “Spirit Of The Fringe” award in Buxton Fringe 2013, Best Performer’s “Ethno Jazz Festival” (Chisinau, Moldova) Best Performer’s Trigon Jazz Festival (Kiev,¬† Ukraine) all in 2012.

3. Bigg Taj Vs Spee Six Nine

Bigg Taj the Superstar Sardar is the original Indian Beatboxer, at the forefront of the Asian hip hop movement. Top 8 in 2015 ,Top 3 in 2014 beatbox championships, Top 4 in 2009 & Top 8 in 2005 Uk beatbox championships.

Consistent for 10 years in his craft, Glasgow born Bigg Taj has been carving a totally unique niche for himself as a beat boxer like no other since stepping up onstage for the first time nearly a decade ago with his unique sounds, beats and turntablist style…¬†all with his mouth. With a captivating live show with indian instruments and hip hop beats. Bigg Taj is definitely not¬†to be missed!

4. JackCity


JackCity is a hiphop artist from Leeds, England. Having gained interest via mixtape releases, he is now set to launch his first studio album entitled “Eleven”. With incredible soulful vocals and clever lyrics, we think we’ll hear a lot more about JackCity in the future.

5. Megan Adams

Megan is best known as on¬†of the¬†‘Poppy Girls’¬†¬†at age 10. The group released the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal single in 2013 and they performed live in front of the Queen and the Royal Family, and thousands at the annual Festival of Remembrance. Their single reached number 13 in the UK Official Charts and the girls went on to record a top 30 selling album.

Once the project finished, Megan concentrated on her solo career and in 2014 she released her debut single ‘Travelling Soldier’. The single went to number 1 in the UK & Irish Hotdisc Country Charts, where it remained for 6 weeks and Megan’s re-worked version of the US hit by the Dixie Chicks also earned her an award as the best new-comer artist in the Hotdisc Country Charts.



6… ways to get here!

by Emma Cooper

1. Take the ferry from Wemyss Bay

Our big ferry leaves from Wemyss Bay, a mere 45 minute drive from Glasgow. You don’t need to book and if you get there 15 minutes early, you should have time to buy your tickets (¬£6.10 return for adults; ¬£21.90 return for a car) and board.

The ferries also connect with the trains, so if you’re¬†using public transport you can relax and simply follow the signs from the train platform inside the station for a quick 2 minute walk to the ferry. When you arrive in Rothesay 35 minutes later, its a short walk to the festival site.

Make sure you keep a look out for dolphins in the water, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate (we recommend the ‘luxury’) and if you see your favourite band on the boat too, say hi. More info here:

2. …or from Colintraive

Our wee ferry leaves from Colintraive and passes the Burnt Isles. This stretch of water is where cattle used to swim across for markets on the mainland, and we’re pretty sure deer cross this bit of water each year to find new mates. It takes just 5 minutes¬†it’s a gorgeous drive¬†down to¬†Colintraive¬†through mountains and forest. More info here:

3. Sail

Sailing around Bute is world-class, with stunning scenery and an abundance of wildlife to see. We have two marinas, in Port Bannatyne  and in Rothesay; the latter is closest to the festival and less than a 10 minute walk away. We also have a very friendly sailing club, which organises the prestigious Round Bute Race and the (less prestigious!) annual Raft Race.

4. Fly

[Photo by Michael Russell MSP, with thanks to the Baird of Bute Festival]

That’s right, Bute even has it’s very own airport. It may look like a field next to a beach when it’s empty, but it’s actually pretty special. The first all-powered heavier than air flight was first attempted by the ‘Baird of Bute’, Andrew Blain Baird, on Ettrick Bay. It’s celebrated every year in September at the Baird of Bute Festival.

5. Kayak

Bute is one of the stops on the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail, with a wilderness campsite at the north end of the island in the community-owned forest.

If you don’t fancy kayaking to the island, you could still book in for a day or half-day kayak trip with the experienced and friendly team at Kayak Bute¬†whilst your here and make the most of our gorgeous coastal scenery.

6. Swim

[Photo by Stephanie Pegg]

OK so we probably wouldn’t really¬†recommend getting¬†to Bute¬†this way, but once you’re here wild swimming should definitely be on your to do list. We have gorgeous deserted beaches and curious seals – the more noise you make in the water the more likely they are to say hello. There’s even the occasional basking shark to snorkel with!



7… family things to do at ButeFest 2017

By Chris Kinloch & Shona Edwards

7.  Get undercover

There are 5 different family areas across the site, with something for everyone, and plenty of undercover space Рjust in case!

The under 5’s can enjoy our¬†sand¬†pit and play area all day, and children of all ages can pop into the¬†Family Tent for¬†puppet shows, family¬†entertainers and more.

Teens will want to¬†check out Vespertine, hosting hair-braiding and disco’s on all 3 days. ¬†For those feeling more creative, be sure to check out our crafts marquee, or even have your face painted.


6.  Learn something new

If you need a break from the amazing live music then check out one of our many workshops for all the family to get involved in.  Fancy learning a new style of dance?  Or even learning to play the drums?  How about a Pilates workshop? You can do it all, plus loads more at one of the many workshops that will take place over the weekend.

Try something new, just for fun or brush up on your skills, at no extra cost!

5.  Dance the day away

Check out the Family Party and strut your stuff to some of your party favourites.

Held in Vespertine every day of the festival, it’s a chance to unwind or show off your best dance moves away from the stages.¬†¬†This year, Vespertine will be host¬†to Syrian Hour and the Silent Disco during the day, before melding into 80’s, 90’s and Cheesy Pop disco at night time.

Don’t forget family favourites Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 will be playing again this year – who can still remember the words to the ‘crossing the road song’?!

4.  Get crafty

Get involved with flag making, yarn bombing or even design your own coat of arms in our craft area. You can try your hand at greenwood-working, paint, draw, sculpt and we guarantee, there will be a new craft to try for all ages.

3.  Be entertained

Look out for our entertainers, popping up all over the site at any time! We have balloon modellers, storytelling, puppetry, Book Bug and lots of surprises!

2.  Get the look

Get your -painted and learn to do your festival hair-do with lessons and demonstrations throughout the festival. From the beautiful to the wacky, we all need a little glitter sometimes.

This should be your first stop on arrival to help you get straight into festival mode!


1.  Strut your stuff

Our annual family parade has the theme of ‘Royal Rothesay’ in 2017, celebrating our royal heritage. Take part in the parade by getting dressed up, making flags and banners and learning to play an instrument.

(You might want to check out our castle, museum and Mount Stuart whilst your here too!)

As we get closer to ButeFest 2017, be sure to keep an eye on our website and social media pages as we announce our full family entertainment programme.

Get your tickets today by visiting