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TradFest 2015
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Rooted in the Past. Resonating in the Present.


Tradition goes live in Edinburgh, when the third annual showcase of Traditional Arts and Culture takes place in Scotland’s capital from Wednesday 29 April to Sunday 10 May 2015.

'a finger on the national pulse.' (fRoots)

'an extraordinarily full and varied 12 days and nights.' (Living Tradition)

TradFest celebrates Scotland’s May festivals – Beltane and Mayday – which traditionally mark the beginning of summer, bringing energy and colour to the capital city as the greening of the year breaks out. Venues include Calton Hill, the Royal Mile, The Pleasance, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Filmhouse, Queens Hall, Summerhall, George Square Theatre and Dance Base. The TradFest Trail highlights craft shops, galleries, pub sessions, instrument makers, bookshops, restaurants and cafes that help visitors experience Scotland’s culture and the folk arts.

TradFest showcases a packed programme of folk arts – music, song, storytelling, dance, drama, crafts, film, seasonal customs, and environmental arts – and features a galaxy of local and international talent including Nuala Kennedy, Southern Tenant Folk Union, Rozi Plain, The Shee, Dean Owens and the Whisky Hearts, Dick Gaughan, Salt House, Colum Sands, Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore, Bella Hardy, Mary Black, Breabach, Cruinn, Dallahan, Huradal, Kim Edgar, Mairi Campbell, Emily Smith, Robyn Stapleton, Transgressive North, Swedish Trio Väsen, The Hydro Choir from Oslo, The Badwills, DJ Dolphin Boy, Sangstream, The Fisher Lassies, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, John Muir – University of the Wilderness, National Collective, Sheila Stewart Tribute and much more.

Malinky and Robyn


TradFest begins with gigs by The Tannahill Weavers and Malinky at the Pleasance. Then watch out for a perfect storm of seasonal celebration with the Masque of Beltane on Calton Hill, followed on Sat 2 May by the May Day Parade and Rally ‘Action against Austerity’. These are accompanied by concerts at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Queens Hall and the Pleasance, as well as Mumming and Dance workshops, ensuring that Scotland’s capital will bring in the summer in carnival style!

Breabach and Bella


The Pleasance is a venue steeped in Old Town and Southside tradition and is the TradFest music hub, with performances in the Theatre and Cabaret Bar, courtesy of Soundhouse and Edinburgh Folk Club. See below for a host of talent from Scotland and abroad.  There will also be nightly open sessions from 10am, anchored by DJ Dolphin Boy. Enjoy convivial evenings in the heart of Old Edinburgh.


The Edinburgh Filmhouse hosts the world’s first festival of Folk Cinema for TradFest.

The screenings explore the myriad ways that world cinema has engaged with folk culture – folk as living tradition, as people’s history, as working class culture, as political movements or come-all-ye communities. This inaugural gathering will feature a series of rare and celebrated films, showcasing Scottish and British filmmakers alongside work from Italy, Russia and Africa. Each feature will be preceded by a folk short. Come along and join the conversation in discussion sessions and the Filmhouse Café Bar.

Further info and tickets


The Scottish Storytelling Centre is a hub for Scotland’s traditional arts and crafts. It’s the TradFest melting pot for song, story, music, dance and craft crossover, presenting opportunities for artists to come together and explore cultural traditions with a contemporary spin. From workshops and walking tours, to musical evenings discovering the story behind the songs, you are guaranteed a warm welcome, with the Centre’s reception desk and box office your invaluable information point for TradFest events.

Tales in the Making and Tours


TradFest venues range from the classical lines of the renowned Queen's Hall andever expanding Summerhall spaces, through to intimate venues such as The Royal Oak, home of the Wee Folk Club. There are also book events at the National Library of Scotland and Blackwell’s Bookshop – all on Edinburgh’s Southside. Enjoy these special venues and events.


Edinburgh is hoaching with traditional arts and culture. By following the TradFest Trail you will find a network of pub sessions, music and record shops, galleries, book and print shops, cafes and restaurants, clothes shops, instrument makers and markets which are all offering authentic flavours of folk culture.

Don’t miss out on a self-guided TradFest meander through Edinburgh. In addition there are themed tours and trails for those who want to explore a cultural angle on Scotland’s capital city – dubbed ‘Queen of the North’.

Adam Holmes Cruinn and Ceilidh


The last weekend of TradFest is a whole festival in its own right, saving some of the best to last! Enjoy gigs at all the main venues as well as a day of traditional dance, community choirs, the National Collective Debate and a tribute to the late, great traditional singer and storyteller, Sheila Stewart.

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Tradfest 2015

Wed 29 Apr – Sun 10 May