Edinburgh Tradfest begins this Friday

Edinburgh Tradfest

FESTIVAL DATES: Friday 3 May – Monday 13 May 2024

A packed programme of music, film and storytelling kicks off Edinburgh Tradfest this weekend (3 May to 13 May) thanks to continued support from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland and the William Grant Foundation.

The eleven day Festival opens with electro-trad supergroup VALTOS one of Scotland’s best live bands, who are performing with folk trio Assynt and award-winning singer Josie Duncan at the Queen’s Hall. Over the weekend the music programme continues with folk legend Martin Simpson whose latest solo album Skydancers has just been released; Americana, rock, folk and blues icon Alice Howe and legendary bassist Freebo; and late night sessions in the Traverse Bar. Plus, folk musicians playing at any level, can take part in #WorldPlayAStrathspeyDay on Saturday by uploading a strathspey tune online using the hashtag, or by joining fiddlers Eryn Rae, Matt Tighe, accordionist Megan Macdonald and pianist extraordinaire Rory Matheson for a live afternoon concert to celebrate the humble Strathspey.

This year the festival boasts an incredible line-up of master musicians including Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis who closes this year’s festival in concert with special guests Laura Wilkie and Ian Carr whose debut album Vent will launch later this year. Other masters of traditional music playing this festival include singer, harpist and composer Rachel Newton; stalwart of the 1990s Edinburgh session scene Simon Bradley trio-ing with Anna-Wendy Stevenson and Michael Bryan; the newly-formed Triptic featuring three musicians of peerless pedigree – Phil Alexander, Greg Lawson and Mario Caribe; dazzling instrumentalists Simon Thoumire and Dave Milligan; legend Archie Fisher; and West Highland high energy supergroup Dàimh.

Also playing this festival are a host of hugely talented Nordic musicians including Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, and raucous fiddler Lena Jonsson from Northern Sweden who duos with the legendary Brittany Haas from Northern California. Other highlights include the incredible Malin Lewis who launches their new album Halocine at this year’s festival; soulful electro-trad tunes from Frankie Archer whose music is shaking up genres and traditions and championing women, challenging perspectives and calling for a fairer future; BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist 2024 Evie Waddell; and sixth generational fiddle player Clare Sands.

For film goers there is this year’s Folk Film Gatherin’ which includes on-screen highlights – Journey to the Isles: Marjory Kennedy Fraser an archive film with live accompaniment from storyteller Marion Kenny and multi-instrumentalist Mairi Campbell; and two films from Ukraine – the silent masterpiece Earth (1930) directed by Alexander Dovzhenko and accompanied by Scottish musicians Luke Sutherland and Semay Lu; and Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors – a tale of crossed lovers introduced with a short concert from Edinburgh’s Ukrainian Choir.

This year’s May Day Parade also takes place during the festival on Sunday 5 May setting off down the Royal Mile at mid-day and finishing with a rally, music and speeches. Plus fans of traditional storytelling can enjoy events at the Scottish Storytelling Centre including old tales from Lithuania and around the world brought to life by Daiva Ivanauskaite and musician Gaynor Barradell in Fire from the Woods (Her Father Has Nothing to Say) a new production exploring the silence between generations and life growing up without hearing stories from your ancestors; and Welsh storyteller Milly Jackdaw presenting Mochyn Mryddin / Merlin’s Pig a fusion of traditional storytelling, physical theatre, music and ceremony based on the life of Myrddin, the inspiration for Merlin in Arthurian legend.

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

“We are beyond excited to present our biggest and best Edinburgh Tradfest ever. Every single show has been curated with care by our team, so you can book with absolute confidence. As usual we’ll be at every gig enjoying the music. See you soon!”

Edinburgh Tradfest runs from Friday 3 May to Monday 13 May.

For tickets and more information visit edinburghtradfest.com