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Tradition goes live in Edinburgh, with an annual showcase of arts and culture across Scotland’s capital.

131 Events across 34 Venues

'Smothered in the warmth of a country steeped in tradition. Many cultures are woven together with a power of threads drawn from a vibrant and colourful past. Thank You Scotland!'
(2016 Audience Member)

TradFest Dùn Èideann is a vibrant twelve-day showcase of Scotland’s thriving traditional arts. In 2017 TradFest Dùn Èideann is a signature event for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology which brings two exciting new strands to the programme – ‘Local Cultures’ and ‘The People’s Heritage’ – to connect creativity with heritage and give ownership to all Scotland’s citizens in an inclusive approach, celebrating cultural diversity.

TradFest celebrates activity that is already happening throughout the year, showcasingand giving a platform to many diverse cultures and traditions that exist in Edinburgh today.  2017’s TradFest performances celebrate traditions from Iraq, Norway, Ghana, Ireland and Kenya amongst others, all performed by artists who are based in Edinburgh.

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

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

TradFest Animated Banner

May Day ParadeBRINGING IN THE SUMMER                                                                         

TradFest begins with Bagpipes Gu Leòr at Queen’s Hall celebrating Scotland’s resurgence for piping, Irish wife and husband duo Fil Campbell and Tom McFarland at Edinburgh Folk Club at Summerhall, as well as the start of nightly folk sessions at Sandy Bell’s. The first weekend celebrates the Beltane Fire Festival on Calton Hill, marking May Day, the traditional start of summer. The finale weekend showcases the May Day procession to Scottish Parliament on Sat 6 May and the Battle of the Folk Bands on Sun 7 May.

Residents and visitors alike are warmly invited to take part in these occasions and ‘bring in the summer’ with story, song and dance!

The People's HeritageTHE PEOPLE’S HERITAGE

What do Robinson Crusoe, Deacon Brodie, Coconut Tam, Long John Silver and Sherlock Holmes have in common? Edinburgh! Edinburgh’s storytellers live on location introduce key characters and unique tales from the city’s popular history. No booking required, just discover the places, themes and times to come along on the day to enjoy short performances in situ.

Specially commissioned for TradFest in the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology 2017.

RuraMUSIC AT SUMMERHALL                                                                
This year’s music hub at Summerhall includes The Soundhouse Organisation’s fantastic programme, including the UK premiere performance of The Lowest Pair, along with Edinburgh Folk Club sessions, the Scots Music Group’s May concert featuring Karine Polwart reuniting with her old Malinky bandmate Steve Byrne, and On the Radical Road the political, poetic and musical journey of Hamish Henderson, founding father of Scotland’s Folk Revival.

LOCAL CULTURES AT THE STORYTELLING CENTRE                                              
TRACS’ home base on the Royal Mile offers a continuous feast of multi arts and diverse culture with a scrumptious café, bookshop and central Box Office.

GiantsFrom A Braw Nicht Oot showcasing Scots language to bespoke sessions exploring folklore, like Giants through Nordic and Celtic mythology, there’s a breath of stories and songs to discover. The Wick That Was/Nancy’s Whisky showcases stories and photography from Wick in Caithness, Furan is performed by young Gaelic singers, The Two Truths of Thomas the Rhymer stems from the Borders and Lorgan Bàta Nan Salm - Traces Of The Psalmboats is performed by members of the Lewis community.

TRADFEST IN THE TOWN                                                                                         
See Edinburgh afresh as a capital of folk culture with a range of walks and trails, offering live, up close introductions to Auld Reekie. Ranging from The Knitting and James Brown is Annie_Four Nations UnitedStitching Show at the Royal Highland Centre and the Curators Tour of The Weaver's Apprentice at Dovecot Studios, through to celebrating cultural fusion at 4 Nations United – Sundown at The Biscuit Factory and intimate Wee Folk sessions at The Royal Oak.

On the front of The National Library of Scotland you can see the figures of History, Poetry and Music carved by Hugh Lorimer. In this Year of History, Heritage and Karine PolwartArchaeology, TradFest and the National Library take a fresh look at some vital aspects of Scotland’s past and living culture. With sessions in Landscape, Gaelic Heritage, Scots Heritage and Film Heritage, as well as an exploration of The Jacobites, this strand is a must for anyone who wants to see history through fresh perspectives.


Transgressive North presents the third festival of folk cinema, in partnership with Filmhouse Edinburgh and TradFest.

This year’s programme, which runs from 26 Apr – 13 May, revolves around a dual theme of Songs and Labour, showcasing the many instances in Scottish and world cinema where filmmakers have explored the complex ties between communities, music and labour. The majority of screenings include a live performance from a folk musician tying into the thematic focus of the film, with plenty of scope for Q&A with creatives.

Given recent world events, the 2017 Folk Film Gathering programme also voices political solidarity with those experiencing new degrees of vulnerability. As such, there is particular focus on the experience of black communities (Killer of Sheep, Barrovento), to communities experiencing the dislocations of emigration and diaspora (Latcho Drom, Matewan), to women’s perspectives and the work of female directors (The Scar, Land of Songs, Laulu, Milk of Sorrow, Bitter Rice, Another Time, Another Place), and to communities battling austerity and exploitative labour practices (Matewan, The Scar, Happy Lands).

Folk Film Gathering

 Read 2016 TradFest Review by Living Tradition


Tradfest 2017

Wed 26 Apr – Sun 7 May

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Year of History Heritage & Archaeology


From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to myths, tales and legends, the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s fascinating past, greatest figures, attractions, icons and hidden gems.