Edinburgh Tradfest’s 2023 Full Programme Announced

Today (Wed 15 March) Edinburgh Tradfest launched its 2023 programme of traditional live music, storytelling, dance, workshops, talks, ceilidhs, and special events taking place at various venues across Edinburgh. TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) and the Scottish Storytelling Centre are delighted to take part in this annual celebration, bringing folk art and culture to life this spring from 28 April – 8 May 2023.

At the Scottish Storytelling Centre, the festival kicks off with the return of dance festival Pomegranates – a weekend of dance, performance, and workshops run by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland to celebrate International Dance Day (29 April); and the second North Atlantic Song Convention run by the Traditional Music Forum takes place, with delegates from around the world gathering in Edinburgh to celebrate and learn about our rich song traditions.

Daniel Abercrombie, Programme & Events Manager, Scottish Storytelling Centre:
Tradfest is a chance for us to celebrate a range of traditional arts through live performance and participation. The Storytelling Centre’s programme has themes of nature and the environment running through it with ceilidhs, long-form storytelling, dance and song events, sitting alongside Celtic opera, BSL digital storytelling and family events. Something for everyone this spring!

Week one of the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s programme is packed with fantastic events including a talk on naturalist Nan Shepherd (author of The Living Mountain) conducted by Erlend Clouston; a performance by the Scots Opera Project of the acclaimed The Seal-Woman written by Marjory Kennedy-Fraser and Granville Bantock in 1924; Shapeshifters which returns with more terrifying and tragic folktales from Scotland including the Seal Killer of Duncansby Head and Saba the deer mother told by storyteller Fiona Herbert with song, harp and fiddle from Emma Durkan; open-floor storytelling at the Waverley Bar with Ailsa Dixon; and for younger audiences, folklorist Allison Galbraith will be telling stories from her latest collection Funny Folk Tales for Children. Plus, to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week, Solar Bear will present a panel discussion and a series of new films created and developed over the last three years exploring deaf folklore, deaf identity and disability.

Week two of the Festival also offers a packed programme including spring ceilidhs at the Scottish Storytelling Centre; the traditional May Day March – Fighting Back Together (6 May) which travels down the Royal Mile culminating in a rally against unjust labour laws and the cost of living crisis at The Pleasance; a performance of the ancient and much-loved border ballad of Thomas the Rhymer narrated by Julia Munrow and with music by John Sampson; tales of bees, birds, and international stories performed by Susan Strauss (Oregon, USA) chosen from her book Tree with Golden Apples; the launch of Stuart McHardy’s new book The Nine Maidens: Priestesses of the Ancient World; and Donald Smith presenting his recently published Storm and Shore a bardsaga for our times, reflecting our need for contemporary solace and sanctuary close to nature.

Steve Byrne, Director of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland): “TRACS is delighted to contribute a rich offering from across the traditional arts to this year’s Tradfest. The festival is a fantastic platform for singers, dancers, musicians and storytellers to follow in the great Edinburgh spring tradition of celebrating our traditional cultures both local and global.

For tickets and more information follow the links below:

Tradfest at the Scottish Storytelling Centre

Full Tradfest Programme