The best events at Tradfest 2015
Annual festival celebrates Scotland’s traditional arts and culture across Edinburgh
For nearly a fortnight around the Celtic celebration of May Day, Tradfest celebrates traditional arts, culture and thought through words, song and performance in venues across Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. We’ve picked out five highlights from this year's busy programme.
Beltane Fire Festival
An Edinburgh institution for nearly three decades, this re-enactment of the traditional ways of celebrating the Celtic festival of Beltane signifies the passing of winter into summer. There's a torchlight procession up Calton Hill and the theatrical arrival of the May Queen at its end.
Calton Hill, Thu 30 Apr.
May Day Concert: Dick Gaughan
Born in Glasgow and now a native Leither, Dick Gaughan is an iconic folk figure, particularly for the protest songs in his output. An evening in his company is an education and a pleasure, especially on this day; listen out for his defining take on Hamish Henderson’s ‘Freedom Come-All-Ye’.
Pleasance Theatre, Fri 1 May.
The Best of Young Scottish Folk
Curated by the well-established Adam Holmes and the Embers, this celebration of contemporary forms of folk and folk-influenced music also features The Jellyman’s Daughter and Kirsty Law with Wounded Knee.
The Mash House, Tue 5 May.
Alan Lomax: Dunkin’ Their Heels in the Corn and the Custard
Alan Lomax was an American collector and archivist of folk music and the stories that go with it. The discoveries he made in his lifetime included extensive investigations in Scotland. Join Ewan McVicar for a trip around that archive.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Wed 6 May.
What Next For Scotland’s Cultural Community?
Responding to last year’s outpouring of creative engagement with politics through the Scottish Independence Referendum, this conference asks ‘so what?’ and ‘what next?’ of various artists and cultural commentators, with ‘provocations’ from figures including David Greig, Janice Galloway, Karine Polwart, Tam Dean Burn and Joyce MacMillan.
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Sun 10 May.
Tradfest 2015, various venues, Edinburgh, Wed 29 Apr–Sun 10 May.