The Scottish Universities Folk Festival was founded to bring students across Scotland who take part in traditional culture together for networking and celebrating folk. The important place of folk and tradition in Scottish culture, and the popularity of folk societies at Scotland’s universities, led us to want to connect folkie students. No inter-varsity network of Scottish university folk societies existed prior to the festival, making SUFF’s creation the cornerstone in establishing a more connected Scottish university folk music network. Embracing the collective and adaptive spirit of folk, the festival was founded to draw people in the folk community together, reflect the long-standing collaborative nature of folk music, and create a space for students across Scotland to meet, share and enjoy folk culture.
The first SUFF was held in October 2015 and saw students from across Scotland flock to Edinburgh to take part in a non-stop programme of events. Hosted inaugurally by the Edinburgh University Folk Society, the festival aimed to be warm, engaging and accessible, while working with other trad organisations in Edinburgh to include the local folk community. Keeping visitor costs low didn’t limit the programme, with events ranging from a session on top of Arthur’s Seat to workshops traversing European folk music. In classic student style attendees were welcomed into the homes of the host society’s members, ensuring a cheap kip and a dry head for all! More information about the inaugural festival can be found on the SUFF ’15 page.
With a successful SUFF under the belt organisers turned attention to the future of the festival. As popular opinion pushed for more, it was decided that SUFF would become an annual event. To capitalise on lessons from the first festival and to help strengthen the festival’s identity it was decided that the Edinburgh University Folk Society would again host SUFF in 2016. Sessions, workshops, dancing and networking galore; more information about the second SUFF can be found on the SUFF ’16 page.
We hope that the SUFF festival will move host annually, travelling around Scottish universities and allowing different societies to create exciting programmes for students from their own and other institutions. We can’t wait to share what’s planned for SUFF 18/19!