TradFest launches programme of over 100 events

Celebrating traditional culture in all its forms with a feast of flavours, TradFest launched its programme of over 100 events in celebration of Scotland's 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology at Summerhall this morning, with Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona HyslopCreative Scotland’s Head of Music, Alan Morrison alongside performances from Gaelic singer Eilidh Cormack  and The Singing Kettle’s Artie Trezise.

TradFest Edinburgh • Dùn Èideann returns from Wednesday 26 April to Sunday 7 May 2017 as Edinburgh’s only multi-arts festival dedicated to Scottish traditional folk arts, showcasing culture, live. Rooted in the past yet intrinsically connected to the present, TradFest celebrates seasonal and traditional customs with a contemporary spin, grounded in Scotland’s people and environments.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, states:

In Scotland, we have the most fascinating and inspiring history and heritage on our doorsteps. With 131 events across 34 venues, TradFest will ignite Edinburgh with celebrations of May Day and Beltane, showcasing ancestry with vibrant cultural creativity. A perfect signature event for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

The traditional arts are fundamental to Scotland's cultural heritage and to our national identity. Communities are bound by the stories and music that surround them, history is kept alive and the future is shaped through festival events such as these. That is why we must ensure our traditional arts continue to flourish and shape Scotland's culture for future generations.’

Daniel Abercrombie, Festival Manager, states:

We are delighted that TradFest again showcases the wonderful variety of traditional arts activity that is happening across Edinburgh (and further afield) just now. TradFest is a genuine, dynamic festival experience led by the communities and cultures which celebrate traditional arts all year round. There is plenty to explore with a smorgasbord of music, storytelling, dance, crafts, talks, walks, workshops and folk film.

Bringing in the Summer

Whether you want to simply soak up an atmospheric session of song, or delve into discovering the fascinating heritage of Edinburgh, residents and visitors are warmly invited to take part in these occasions and 'bring in the summer' with story, song and dance, plus Stuart McHardy's TradFest Trail Tour will give insight into Edinburgh's trad history, key places and people.  

 TradFest begins with Bagpipes Gu Leòr at Queen's Hall, a stellar showcase of the renaissance reclaiming strands of Scotland's piping culture, which were lost when competitive and military piping became the norm, displacing the rich variety of instruments and styles, once commonplace throughout the land and showcased in this feast of piping talent, curated by Hamish Moore. The opening weekend celebrates the Beltane Fire Festival on Calton Hill, marking May Day, the traditional start of summer.  The finale weekend showcases the May Day Parade to the Scottish Parliament on Sat 6 May, as well as the May Day Social at McSorley's.

Music at Summerhall

 This year's music hub at Summerhall showcases The Soundhouse Organisation's music programme, which includes appearances from Dean Owens and Amy Geddes as Redwood Mountain: Transatlantic Crossings as they build on The Book of American Folk Songs by archivist Alan Lomax, Ireland's Connla who are taking the trad world by storm and the UK debut of American Roots duo The Lowest Pair.

Plus, Edinburgh Folk Club showcase duo sets Fil Campbell & Tom McFarland and Tom McConville & Andy Watt, while Theatre Objektiv present a radical, theatrical fusion exploring founding father of Scottish folk, Hamish Henderson.

Local Cultures at the Storytelling Centre                  

Local Cultures showcases music, song, storytelling and dance traditions highlighting the dynamic community heritage which is showcased with pride in the heart of Edinburgh's World Heritage Site, making its inclusion as a key strand in Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology all the more pertinent.

Celebrations of Scotland's languages are showcased at Poet's Howff, A Braw Nicht Oot and Lorgan Bàta Nan Salm - Traces of the Psalmboats. Storytelling sessions traverse Giants, Fairies and Something For A'body to get to grips with Scotland's legends.

Music and story fusions promise spell binding evenings with Seal Skins, Storms & Treasures Deep, The Music of What Happens and An Irish Hoolie, while cultural diversity and fusion is celebrated at Baghdad is Still Singing, ISSHO Drummers: From Taiko To Txalaparta, Unspun and Four Nations United - A Cultural Journey in The Heart of Edinburgh.

The People’s Heritage

This year’s programme also contains a new strand, The People’s Heritage, which features a host of storytellers popping up to introduce key characters and unusual stories from Edinburgh’s popular history and culture throughout TradFest. This showcases the connection between people, place and community which Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology celebrates. 

TradFest in the Town

Ranging from The Knitting and Stitching Show at the Royal Highland Centre to the Look Again series at the National Library of Scotland; from Wee Folk Club sessions in The Royal Oak to nightly TradFest Sessions at Sandy Bell's, see Edinburgh afresh as a capital of folk culture.

Experience walks, talks and trails, offering live, up close introductions to Auld Reekie, as well as highlighting the vibrant world of trad performance happening across Edinburgh's communities, with lots of opportunities to get involved in drop in sessions and more in depth workshops, like the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society’s Children's Scottish Dance Workshop through to Liz Doherty and Amy Geddes' day long Fiddle workshop.

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