Edinburgh’s Tradfest is back for 11 days of music

Edinburgh Tradfest returns this Friday with an 11 day programme of traditional live music at venues across the city.

There will also be additional talks, dance and storytelling happening at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

Kicking off the Festival at the Assembly Rooms on Friday night is celebrated Highland fiddle player Duncan Chisholm and his band formed from some of Scotland’s top instrumentalists – Jarlath Henderson (whistles/uillean pipes), Innes Watson (guitar), Michael Biggins (piano) and Donald Hay (percussion). These trad music legends will be supported by the brilliantly talented Scots Singer of the Year nominee BBC MG ALBA Trad Awards 2021 Beth Malcolm.

Music highlights playing over the opening weekend and the first week of the festival include Ross Ainslie, Ali Hutton and Jenn Butterworth whose acoustic playlist includes foot stomping high octane jigs and melodic slow airs (Sat 30 Apr); twice-nominated Mercury Music Prize nominee and multiple-award winner at the BBC Radio Two Folk awards Eliza Carthy and Martin Carthy her legendary father (Sun 1 May); festival commission Come All Ye by Phil Alexander (Moishe’s Bagel) celebrating the impact that many immigrants have made on the cultural life of Scotland (Mon 2 May); soaring female harmonies from Sian; Finnish ‘nordgrass’ fiddle tunes from Frigg (Tue 3 May); two of Canada’s greatest roots singer songwriters Dave Gunning & J P Cormier (Wed 4 May); spellbinding tunes from Karine Polwart & Dave Milligan (Thu 5 May); and, to round off the first week – supercharged folk favourites Shooglenifty supported by Deira at Potterow (Fri 6 May).


Foot-stomping festival favourties Shooglenifty play Potterow on Fri 6 May at 8pm.

Other highlights in the first week include this year’s Rebellious Truth Talk which will discuss gender inequality in the traditional music industry with Una Monaghan (harper, composer, researcher and sound artist from Belfast), Catriona Macdonald (University of Newcastle), Christian Gamauf (Feis Rois) and Martin Green (Lau). This event will include a recital from Úna on harp and is presented in partnership with Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Researcher and musician Una Monaghan said: ‘I am delighted to be coming to Edinburgh Tradfest. It is a brilliant city for music, and I am looking forward to presenting my research at this year’s Rebellious Truth talk. The conversation around gender representation in folk and traditional music has been simmering in Scotland in parallel with the FairPlà movement in Ireland. I am happy to share outcomes from the years I have spent gathering and analysing musicians’ stories on this topic, and to take part in the Tradfest discussion about what has been and what needs to change.’

Coming up in week 2 of Edinburgh Tradfest will be classic banjo music from US artist Aaron Jonah Lewis; the unique sounds of Project Smok described as a neo-traditional trio of nonconformist and progressive Scottish folk musicians; an unmissable one-off evening of live music curated by Bogha-Frois aka Queer Voices in Folk; and to close the festival will be powerful vocals and instrumental prowess from The Shee.

Jenn Butterworth (left) and Laura-Beth Salter

Jane-Ann Purdy, from The Soundhouse Organisation, producers of Edinburgh Tradfest said: ‘We’re thrilled to be back with a fantastic programme of live music this year and want to thank our funders, supporters and audiences for their continued support. Edinburgh Tradfest is for everyone who has missed live music and having a great night out with friends over the past two years- so come and join us!’

Daniel Abercrombie, Programme and Events Manager at Scottish Storytelling Centre said: ‘We are delighted to be presenting a rich programme of in person storytelling, music and dance events and workshops as part of this year’s Edinburgh Tradfest. Spring is in the air and there is many a tale to tell.’

Edinburgh Tradfest runs from 29 April to 9 May 2022 and is managed by The Soundhouse Organisation.

Tradfest was originally launched in 2013 as a festival showcasing the very best in traditional arts. The festival was previously organised by TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), who are based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh. The Festival came under new direction from The Soundhouse Organisation in 2019.

Find out more HERE.