Sawney Ha’peth’s Free Cringe Festival


Sawney Ha’peth takes you on a magickal journey through the inner and outer worlds of Scotus.

5 stars ★★★★★  5 stars ★★★★★  5 stars ★★★★★



04.08.2018 – 23.08.2018 (excluding 17.08.2018)


Fringe Venue 171, CC Blooms, Edinburgh, United Kingdom


Filmed by Oliver Benton


Sawney Ha’peth’s Free Cringe Festival took place across the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival almost completeting a full run before being shutdown following complaints of "desecrating Scottish culture" and being "against the spirit of the festival", the CCTV footage included in the film was attached to the email closing the show. The work was a durational deconstruction of national identity, advertised under the guise of a Visit Scotland guide while gradually revealing itself to be symbolic festival sacrifice. Sawney Ha’peth begins by incomprehensibly trying to introduce the audience to stereotypically Scottish activities; bagpipes, Highland dancing, drinking, haggis etc. The audience is invited to join in and record what Scotland means to them. As the performance becomes increasingly shambolic it gradually takes the form of a  ritual involving ram bones and alcohol with the ‘haggis’ as a metaphor for inside/outside. The performance ends with Sawney leaving the stage with the audience’s responses mixed into frequencies created from cans of Tennents lager and bagpipe drones. A fuller explanation of Sawney Ha'peth can be found in the previous work



"Sawney Ha'peth's Free Cringe Festival - 45 minutes of our lives, in which we had little or no idea as to what was happening all around (literally) us. Whatever it was - and there are many possibilities - it was utterly compelling; even if it was, at the same time, unsettling, unnerving, disconcerting, and sonically uncomfortable. This is either performance art at its best, or, a lot of nonsense that's presented as art - you decide! If you do go and see this - and please do, if you're of an adventurous nature - please tell us what you think it's about. Perhaps then, it'll all become clearer to us. We loved this. We stood, applauding wildly, at the end. Worth a visit, if you dare."


- The Write Angle, 07.08.2018




Paradise Palms, Edinburgh, UK


Photography by Livvy Lynch


An additional condensed version of Sawney Ha’peth’s Free Cringe Festival was performed at the Shoot Your Shot residency at Paradise Palms​ to an equally confused and hostile Fringe audience.

Key words:

Edinburgh Fringe festival, Scottish Cringe, Sawney, Jock, tartantry, national identity, nationalism, tourism, Scotland, stereotype, haggis, Highlands, Lowlands, inside, outside