Music in Assembly George Square Gardens 


 Performances Thursday 5 – Sunday 29 August

Edinburgh’s favourite festival hub, Assembly George Square Gardens, launches its new Outdoor Stage with a fabulous line-up of local, Scottish and festival music from Thursday 5 August. Supported by the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council, Assembly’s Outdoor Stage will feature the best folk, indie, blues and acoustic music from Edinburgh and beyond.

The music programme at Assembly Festival kicks off at 19:45 on Thursday 5 August, with a weekly Blues Night and a performance from Edinburgh blues and groove band Heavy Pockets. The trio, made up of Toby Mottershead (vocals/guitar), Ewan Gibson (bass), and Vid Gobac (drums), serve up the spirit of 50’s era Chicago – with a strong shot of Mississippi Hill Country blues and a chaser of gospel. Next up is Highland Harper, Siannie Moodie on Friday 6 Aug presenting soothing melodies of the Clàrsach along with some upbeat Celtic reels with her ethereal playing described as “Truly Exquisite”. Jed Potts & the Hillman Hunters will supply the deepest of grooves and rudest of shuffles on Saturday 7 August, with Jonny Christie (drums) and Charlie Wild (bass). Paper Sparrows (Sunday 8 August) bring the weekend to a close with their distinctive twin acoustic guitars. Formed of singer-songwriter David Hershaw and multi-instrumentalist Ross Fairbairn, their arrangements draw upon the work of finger-picking virtuosos of Jansch, Renbourn, Rawlings and the Milk Carton Kids.

The new week in Assembly George Square Gardens begins with a double dose of folk. Jed and Jo (Monday 9 August) of The Whisky River Boat Band, with Jo Jeffries on fiddle and Jed Milroy on banjo and guitar; and one half of folk duo Weird Sisters, Sarah Irvine (Tuesday 10 August) invites you to share in her musings on friendship, folktales and wanderlust. Edinburgh-based duo The Jellyman’s Daughter (Wednesday 11 August), with Emily Kelly’s honeyed voice and Graham Coe’s soft introspective tone, are like a fantasy collaboration between Norah Jones and Elliott Smith. While Nicole & The Backup Crew (Thursday 12 August) bring a weekly helping of soul, rhythm & blues with a punky garage attitude. 

Weekend entertainment comes from Oxford’s internationally acclaimed acapella group Out Of The Blue (13-14, 20-21, and 27-28 August) comprising the vocal talents of students from Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University. Singer of Edinburgh-based band Broken Records Jamie Sutherland (Sunday 15 August) brings the weekend to a close with his debut solo album Bruise.

Scottish troubadour and eldest daughter of The Proclaimers’ Craig Reid, Roseanne Reid brings her singular folk-roots voice from Brooklyn to Assembly George Square Gardens on Monday 16 August. Thick guitar riffs and frenzied harmonica solos from The Blueswater (Thursday 19 August), with Felipe Schrieberg (Vocals), Gordon Jones (Harmonica), Jed Potts (Guitar), Charlie Wild (Guitar), Ewan Gibson (Bass), and Simon Gibb (Drums). 

Scottish musicians Sarah Irvine and Moteh Parrott (Monday 23 August) share the stage for an evening of first-class music, performing a selection of original and beloved songs; the self-defined queen of “Hillbilly noir”, Cera Impala (Tuesday 24 August) brings her whiskey-honeyed voice and intimately crafted banjo pieces to the open-air stage; and The Black Diamond Express frontman Toby Mottershead (Thu 26 Aug) will impress audiences with his naked blues and rough-grained eloquence. Edinburgh-based Italian music collective The Badwills bring the Festival to a close with two gigs that will get the Gardens dancing in its seats, Wednesday 25 and Sunday 29 August. Comprising Alessandro Parlato (Tambourine), Alastair Cole (Double Bass), Elena Zini (Vocals), Simone Caffari (Vocals/Guitar), Davide Panzeri (Melodion/Vocals), Tim Du Feu (Fiddle), and Moreno Coco (Accordion), The Badwills are an Italian musical collective, performing a mix of tarantella, pizzica, tammuriata and Italian folk music, blended with sounds from the Scottish, Irish and English traditions.

Assembly Festival’s open-air Outdoor Stage has been awarded £162,962 from the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council to help fund outdoor events and support the safe return of live events at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

William Burdet-Coutts, Artistic Director Assembly Festival said: “We are thankful for the support received through the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council to bring live entertainment back to this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Assembly Festival has a close relationship with the music industry in Edinburgh, having hosted the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival in recent years, and we are delighted to welcome some of those performers and more, to our new Outdoor Stage in Assembly George Square Gardens.”

Assembly George Square Gardens has been designed from the ground-up to operate in-line with current Government guidelines for COVID-19. Capacity has been reduced, contactless payments are accepted at all box offices, food outlets and bars to avoid unnecessary cash handling; and there is hand sanitiser freely available. The wearing of face coverings will be implemented in line with Government guidance and are currently mandatory indoors. Customers will be contacted in advance should there be any guideline changes that may affect how we operate. Ticket exchanges/refunds are available to customers who are self-isolating.

Assembly Festival opens on Tuesday 3 August with a live programme of cultural events until Sunday 29 August. For tickets and to keep up to date with the full programme at Assembly Festival this summer, visit