The Fretless and Talisk among big names lighting up Edinburgh Tradfest

The Fretless and Talisk among big names lighting up Edinburgh Tradfest


Festival of folk arts returns to Scottish capital

Originally launched in 2013, Edinburgh Tradfest has its roots in the Edinburgh Folk Festival and has remained a platform for showcasing the very best traditional arts in Scotland (and beyond). Since its inception, the festival has been organised by TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland), but last year a question mark loomed over the festival's funding and future.

Thankfully for the city's trad aficionados, the festival has been reclaimed by The Soundhouse Organisation, a charitable group that promotes independent music, and is headed up by trustees who are passionate about music. 'Scotland's traditional music scene is thriving,' says Douglas Robertson, Soundhouse founder and programmer of this year's Edinburgh Tradfest. 'The calibre of our homegrown artists is exceptional and the demand from audiences is increasing all the time. This is why we wanted Tradfest to continue.'

Award-winning folk band Lankum will open the festival at The Queen's Hall with their ethereal mix of traditional folk roots, contemporary elements and enthralling storytelling. Other highlights include What A Voice, a celebration of traditional women musicians featuring Kathleen MacInnes, Fiona Hunter and Kaela Rowan, and a double-bill from fiddler Adam Sutherland and Talisk, the 2017 Folk Band of the Year.

Elsewhere, there's representation across the globe with Grammy-award winning bluegrass from John Reischman and the Jay Birds, and an appearance from Canada's supergroup, The Fretless. Events will take place across the city in various venues including Traverse Theatre, Scottish Storytelling Centre and The Queen's Hall. 'Scotland's folk and trad music sits at the core of our cultural identity and is a driving force in our dynamic music industry,' commented Alan Morrison, head of music at Creative Scotland. 'It's great to know that Tradfest will continue to showcase this brilliant music to audiences from near and far.'

Tradfest, various venues, Edinburgh, Fri 26 Apr–Mon 6 May.

Edinburgh Tradfest

Edinburgh's TradFest kickstarts the summer season with a celebration of traditional music from Scotland and around the world. The extensive programme includes music workshops for children and adults, hosted by a number of world-class musicians.


Four-piece traditional folk group from Dublin.

The Fretless

Rootsy instrumental Canadian folksters.

John Reishman & the Jaybirds

The Grammy winner and bandleader plays with the Canadian folk duo.

Soundhouse- What a Voice

What A Voice celebrates the female tradition-bearers who have been inspiring musicians and delighting audiences down the years.

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