Edinburgh TradFest announces its headline names

Edinburgh Tradfest

Opening this year’s Festival on Friday 3 May, thanks to support from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, will be Daniel Docherty and Martyn MacDonald whose band Valtos has taken the trad and electronic music world by storm.

Valtos’ music has been described by Folk Radio UK as “like nothing you’ve heard before,” blending influences from electronic and folk music. Inspired by artists like Martyn Bennet, Peatbog Faeries, Odesza, Madeon, and Bicep, Valtos creates a unique and genre-defying sound. Their self-titled debut album, released in June 2022, drew inspiration from the breath-taking beauty of their home in Skye, infusing their recordings and live performances with a profound sense of place. The album achieved over 100,000 streams in its first few weeks alone.

Joining them onstage at the Queen’s Hall for an energetic and unforgettable live experience will be Lana Pheutan, Eilidh Cormack, and Euan McLaughlin, plus a host of special guests. Valtos’ talent and innovation have garnered recognition, earning them the Up and Coming Artist of the Year award at The Scots Trad Awards 2022. Their dedication and boundary-pushing artistry continue to impress critics and fans alike.

Also playing over the Festival’s opening weekend is multi-award winning solo artist Martin Simpson (Saturday 4 May) who is renowned for his magnificent acoustic, finger-style guitar playing.  At the very top of his game, Martin is without question a true master of his art. He is universally acclaimed as one of the finest ever acoustic and slide guitar players in the world. Martin is a remarkable storyteller, and a fine banjo-picker who performs traditional English folk songs, American folk and blues and his own compositions with rare subtlety, intensity and honesty.

Rounding off the opening weekend on Sunday 5 May will be fiddle trio The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc (Kevin Henderson (Fiddlers Bid), Olav Luksengård Mjelva and Anders Hall) – a solid gold Edinburgh Tradfest favourite, masterfully blending the traditions of Norway, Sweden and the Shetland Islands with their unique rich sound – not to be missed!

In Traverse 2 also performing on the opening weekend will be LA-based singer-songwriter Alice Howe, and the multi-award-winning singer/harpist/composer Rachel Newton.

Finally, on Monday 13 May, one of Scotland’s best loved traditional music stars, Julie Fowlis will perform with her band at what will be the festival’s biggest ever closing concert at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms.

Douglas Robertson and Jane-Ann Purdy, co-producers of Edinburgh Tradfest said:

“Every year we look to up our game at Edinburgh Tradfest so we are very excited to share not one but two BIG venue concerts for 2024. With Valtos and Special Guests at the Queen’s Hall to open and Julie Fowlis at the Assembly Rooms to close this year’s festival we know we are looking forward to a bumper year. Our opening weekend is also chock-full of superstars and gives a fine taster of what lies ahead for the rest of the programme. We can’t wait for it to start.”

Creative Scotland’s Head of Music, Alan Morrison commented: 

“Spring has arrived early for music fans with news that Valtos, Martin Simpson, Julie Fowlis and The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc will soon be coming to the capital’s stages. In recent years, Tradfest has transformed Edinburgh’s festival calendar with a world-class programme that celebrates the rich past and exciting future of folk and traditional music. If the opening weekend is anything to go by, the 2024 edition is going to be one of the best yet.”

The full programme for this year’s Edinburgh Tradfest will be launched in March 2024, and will include an unmissable line-up of live music, talks, new commissions, and traditional storytelling thanks to continued support from Creative Scotland and the William Grant Foundation.

Edinburgh Tradfest 2024 will run from Friday 3 May – Monday 13 May. For tickets and more information visit edinburghtradfest.com




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