Success for Edinburgh Tradfest 2019 means the festival will return next year!


“Tradfest enjoyed a new lease of life this year, raising its profile across the city and bringing out new audiences in droves . The roots of traditional music go deep into the heart of Edinburgh so it’s great to see so many of the city’s stages bouncing to these tunes, old and new. Congratulations to The Soundhouse Organisation for a job well done – and to TRACS, Edinburgh Folk Club and the Folk Film Gathering for keeping Scotland’s heritage in the live arena.” – Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland

We’re delighted to report that Tradfest pulled in a truly international audience from Scotland and beyond to this year’s festival, which saw ticket sales almost double for The Soundhouse Organisation’s events.

Tradfest 2019 highlights included anarchic Irish folk band Lankum; the explosively energetic sound of  Talisk; Gloir – a celebration of Gaelic Spiritual Music, in memory of John Macleod; sell out shows The Fretless and John Reischman and the Jay Birds; and ‘What A Voice’, celebrating the female tradition-bearers with three of Scotland’s most engaging and accomplished singers - Kathleen MacInnes, Fiona Hunter and Kaela Rowan.

Once again, Tradfest was delighted to partner with TRACS, the Edinburgh Folk Club and the Folk Film Gathering, which saw live music played alongside folk films from local and international filmmakers including Dovzhenko’s magical Zvenigora with a new score from the Folklore Tapes, and Neil Gunn’s Scots Literary classic The Silver Darlings.

Many of our shows saw standing ovations and audiences were extremely receptive to the programme on offer. Here’s a snapshot from vox pops taken from audiences at some of the shows: 

‘We’re from Virginia - we live in the Appalachian mountains, which were settled by the Scots, so this is our root music… We scheduled our entire tour of Scotland based on Tradfest! What I loved about this last set, it was traditional but it had so much variety, and so much creativity.’ Audience member

‘[Talisk] brought an Edinburgh crowd up and on their feet, which I have never ever seen before!’ – Audience member

‘I was blown away by What A Voice … I feel humbled to have lived long enough to hear those three incredible singers re-animate the spirits of their great, but seldom heard forebears – what a totally gorgeous band.’ – Audience member

We are beyond thrilled with the turnout for this year’s festival, which shows there is a growing interest in and awareness of Tradfest as part of the city’s festival landscape. We look forward to coming back next year and building on our relationships with venues, funding partners, artists and new and returning audiences.

Tradfest will return to venues across Edinburgh next year. Dates will be 1-11 May 2020.

See you next year!

Edinburgh Tradfest is managed by The Soundhouse Organisation and supported by Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Tattoo Culture Fund. This year’s Festival was sponsored by Edinburgh First.

Jane-Ann Purdy