Chinese New Year Edinburgh 2020 Guide – Events and Accommodation

Chinese New Year 2020 Edinburgh Guide – Events and Accommodation

2020 marks a special year between Scottish and Chinese Culture because the Lunar Chinese New Year and Robert Burns Night both fall on the same date – 25th January 2020 – which only happens every 76 years. No matter whether you’re a local in Edinburgh or a tourist visiting the city, this guide will provide you with insights into the events and accommodation you can enjoy to celebrate Chinese New Year and Robert Burns Night.

 

Enjoy Scottish and Chinese Culture in One City

Robert Burns and Burns Night in Edinburgh

Robert Burns Night 2020 Edinburgh

Robert Burns was a renowned Scottish poet and lyricist who is considered the most famous pioneer of the Romantic Movement in Scotland. His works also inspired the founders of liberalism and socialism and so he became a cultural icon in Scotland.

On 25th January every year, Scots will come together to commemorate the life and contribution of Robert Burns with a traditional Burns supper and a series of local events.

This year, Burns & Beyond with Johnnie Walker will host a programme showcasing traditional Scottish and contemporary Scottish arts and culture in Edinburgh and across Scotland from 21st January 2020 to 1st February 2020.

 

Chinese Lunar New Year in Edinburgh

Chinese New Year Celebration Edinburgh

Chinese Lunar New Year is considered the most important festival in Chinese culture. Also known as the Spring Festival, it originated during the Shang Dynasty (17-11 century BC) and many customs and rituals continued through the generations.

Chinese Lunar New Year is an occasion for Chinese families and friends to gather together for a reunion meal and spend time together during the festive period. It also symbolises hope and blessing for the forthcoming year. Some other traditions include spring cleaning, putting red scrolls with complementary poetic couples at the gate, and festivals with lion and dragon dances.

This year, Edinburgh has the largest celebration for Chinese New Year in Scotland, from Tuesday 21st January until 6th February. The Edinburgh Chinese New Year Festival is part of a wider partnership between Burns & Beyond and Johnnie Walker and marks the first time Scotland will have a coordinated programme of special events and initiatives celebrating the cultural highlights of Scottish and Chinese culture to welcome in the Year of the Rat.

 

Event Highlights

Here is the list of events that visitors to Edinburgh can enjoy in celebration of Chinese Lunar New Year and Robert Burns Night.

 

1. Edinburgh Official Chinese New Year Concert

The Chinese New Year Concert, held at the Usher Hall, will reflect the optimism of the Year of the Rat. It will include performances from the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh Singers, as well as Chinese folk pieces performed by Chinese artists Guizhou Song and Dance Troupe.

Dance Troupe has toured over 20 countries, including the UK, France, Japan, Russia, and Canada, promoting Guizhou traditions and artistic exchange around the world. They will perform a variety of songs and dances that portray the unique folk customs and styles in Guizhou, China for the audience.

Edinburgh Official Chinese New Year Gala Music Concert 2020 at Usher Hall

Photo Credit: Scotland China Education Network

  • Date: 21st January 2020
  • Time: 19:00
  • Location: Usher Hall, Lothian Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2EA
  • You can book tickets here.

 

If you are looking to stay within a minute’s walk of the Usher Hall, our centrally located Usher Hall Views apartment could serve as a comfortable self-catering home for you. 

Usher Hall Views

 

2. Year of the Rat Celebration Concert

Music SymbolMusicians from Tianjin University of Finance and Economics will perform a selection of pieces based on traditional Chinese folk music. The troupe consists of ten musicians playing a range of instruments including the Erhu, Chinese Zither, Drum, Pipa and Suona horn. The event will be held in the Lecture Theatre of the Science Building in the Royal Botanical Gardens.

 

  • Date: Thursday, 6th February 2020
  • Time: 19:30 – 22:30
    Location: Lecture Theatre, Science Building, Royal Botanical Gardens, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR
  • You can book tickets here.

 

Stockbridge is a vibrant area in Edinburgh’s New Town. Our Cheyne Street Apartment provides a comfortable sleep for a group of six only a short walking distance from Princes Street and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Cheyne Street

 

 

3. Chinese Lanterns at St Giles’ Cathedral: Burns and Beyond 2020

To celebrate Burns Night and Chinese New Year falling on 25th January 2020, Edinburgh’s famous St Giles’ Cathedral will feature over 400 Chinese lanterns. There are a variety of FREE daytime events including workshops, tours and concerts to provide you with a unique experience under the canopy of lanterns from 23rd January to 1st February 2020.

St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh, High Street, Royal Mile

  • Date: 22nd January to 1st February 2020
  • Daytime entry: 9:00 – 17:00 (Mon – Sat); 13:00 – 17:00 (Sun)
  • Location: St Giles’ Cathedral, High St, Edinburgh, EH1 1RE

 

4. Evening Illumination at St Giles’ Cathedral: Burns and Beyond 2020

Apart from the free daytime events at St Giles’ Cathedral, you can enjoy an evening illumination and soundtrack in this historic building. The illumination will create a spectacular sensory experience along with a programme of daytime and evening performances and events, with tickets costing £5.

  • Date: 22nd January to 1st February 2020
  • Time:  Each evening 17:30 – 20:00
  • Tickets: £5.00 (including booking fee)
  • Book tickets here.

 

5. Giant Lanterns: Lost Worlds

Lanterns symbolise vitality, joy, good fortune and the wish for a bright future. Why not spend a day out at Giant Lanterns: Lost Worlds in Edinburgh Zoo to enjoy the bespoke displays created by Chinese craftspeople from Sichuan? The theme for this year is Lost Worlds, transporting you back in time to meet dinosaurs and all kinds of prehistoric creatures! There are over 600 brand new, beautifully crafted lanterns lighting a magical trail through the zoo. 

  • Date: 15 November to 26 January 2020
  • Time: 16:00 – 21:00
  • Location: Edinburgh Zoo, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS

Edinburgh’s West End is a lively and centrally located area that has lots of local shops and traditional pubs and restaurants. Princes Street is but a few minutes’ walk away. Why not stay in our William Street Lane Apartment or Rutland Square Studio to enjoy the lively scene at the West End? You can reach Edinburgh Zoo in 20 minutes by Lothian buses 24, 26 or 31 from these two apartments.

William Street Lane

Rutland Square

 

 

6. Chinese New Year: Family Activities and Performances

The National Museum of Scotland will hold free family-friendly activities and performances to celebrate Chinese New Year. You can drop in for a fun selection of traditional activities to celebrate the Year of the Rat, starting with a spectacular Lion Dance, and enjoy live performances and demonstrations throughout the day.

National Museum of Scotland

  • Date: 25th January 2020
  • Time: 11:00 – 16:00
  • Location: National Museum of Scotland (Grand Gallery, Level 1), Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF

You can try your hand at calligraphy, make a lucky red envelope, dress up in traditional costume, learn about the Chinese zodiac animals and use the trail to find those hidden around the museum. You can also enjoy a musical celebration of both Burns Night and Chinese New Year by Chinese and Scottish traditional musicians. The Musical Finale will be held at 15:45 at the National Museum of Scotland. 

You can click here for more information.

Looking for a spacious apartment with a well-equipped kitchen in Edinburgh’s Old Town? Royal Mile No.1, Royal Mile No. 2 and Royal Mile Heart are located in the quiet courtyard just off from the famous Royal Mile and any could be the perfect holiday home for you. 

 

Royal Mile No. 1

Royal Mile No. 2

Royal Mile Heart

 

7. Burns & Beyond Culture Trail 2020

This is an event that you shouldn’t miss if you love music and want to explore Scottish and Chinese culture. Burns & Beyond brings you a culture trail to let you enjoy eight venues with a four-hour pass on Saturday 25th January. With this culture trail ticket, you can explore Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns as you move from one venue to another, enjoying live music and performances by artists from across Scotland and beyond.

Each venue hosts a short show lasting approximately thirty minutes which is repeated throughout the evening so you can experience a feast of entertainment all in one night. 

Here are the event details of Burns & Beyond Culture Trail 2020:

  • Date: 25th January 2020
  • Time: Evening (varies depending on the venue)
  • Click here to view more information.

 

#1 Culture Trail: KT Tunstall & Friends

  • This is a specially curated evening of live music and chat in association with Lidl as part of the Burns & Beyond Culture Trail.

 

#2 Culture Trail: Blue Rose Code at Greyfriars’ Kirk, Greyfriars Pl

  • The songs of Ross Wilson aka Blue Rose Code address universal themes of love, loss, travel, home, accepting the past and embracing the future in a deeply personal way. 

 

#3 Culture Trail:  Lucky Middlemass’s Tavern at Assembly Rooms – Ballroom

  • You can enjoy an evening of live music and spoken word, featuring: Kinnaris Quintet, Rozi Plain and Nadine Ashai Jasset.

 

#4 Culture Trail: NEU! REEKIE! presents at Freemasons Hall, 96 George Street

  • Stanley Odd (full band)
  • Kevin Williamson with Kixx Collective & Craig Lithgow
  • Michael Pedersen, Davie Miller (FiniFlex/Tribe) & Carla J Easton collide

 

#5 Culture Trail:Whisky Tasting With Johnnie Walker

  • Johnnie Walker Ambassador Nigel Robertson will be your guide as you discover the distillation and taste behind some of Johnnie Walker’s most famous brands, including Black label / White Walker / Green Label / and Gold Label.

 

#6 Culture Trail: Gilded Balloon Basement, Rose Street

  • This venue holds a rapid-fire comedy set with a stellar line-up of talent from Scotland and beyond! Featuring Gareth Waugh, Christopher Macarthur-Boyd, Marjolein Robertson, Susan Riddell, Jamie Dalgleish and the legendary Scott Capurro.

 

#6 Culture Trail: Out Of The Ordinary & Ramrock Records

  • You will enjoy a riotous musical night to remember at the Liquid Rooms, 9C Victoria Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2HE.

 

#7 Culture Trail: Lanterns Illuminations at St Giles’ Cathedral

  • You can use the ticket to enjoy the evening lanterns illuminations at St Giles’ Cathedral, which together with its stunning architecture and soundtrack makes for an unmissable sensory experience.

 

#8 Culture Trail: Silent Adventures – Scotland Vs The World

  • You can enjoy non-stop dancing in a secret venue on the Culture Trail with the kings of the Silent Disco, Silent Adventures, and Edinburgh’s legendary DJ, The Great Calverto.

 

8. A Royal Mile Special: Chinese New Year

You can celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 with a special Year of the Rat-themed tour of the Royal Mile highlighting interesting characters from Scottish history. The tour guide will reveal the stories from prior Years of the Rat and the historical events that shaped Edinburgh’s past and our people, city and country.

From grand monarchs to our own Mercat Cross, bold New Town plans to riotous public executions, you’ll connect with the past with your Mercat storyteller as they guide you through the twisting tales and wynds of Scotland’s stories.

Edinburgh Old Town - Chinese New Year Celebration

  • Tour Date: Sat 25 Jan, Sun 26 Jan, Sat 1 Feb, Sun 2 Feb
  • Tour Time: 11:00 A.M.
  • Contact:  01312255445
  • Email: info@mercattours.com
  • Price: £14 (£12; Children £9; Family £27)

Want a luxurious stay in Edinburgh? Royal Mile Mansion located at 50 North Bridge is elegant and spacious and equipped with the best of modern amenities. You can enjoy your meal while overlooking the Royal Mile, Tron Kirk, and the Bridges.

Royal Mile Mansion

 

9. Chinese New Year at the Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience is going red for Chinese New Year. Its Silver and Gold whisky tours will be available in Mandarin and Cantonese on 25th January 2020. Scottish tapas with a Chinese twist and a whisky cocktail celebrating both Chinese New Year and Burns Night will be served.

  • Date:  25th January 2020 
  • Contact: 0131 220 0441
  • Location: The Scotch Whisky Experience, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE

If you are looking for grand accommodation next to Edinburgh Castle and the Scotch Whisky Experience, Ramsay Garden could be an ideal choice. This expansive holiday apartment has four comfortable bedrooms, a luxurious living room and a well-equipped kitchen. It can accommodate up to eight people.

Ramsay Garden

 

10. The ‘Not-So-Traditional Burns Supper’ 

If you want to celebrate Burns Night with a not-so-traditional Burns Night Supper, you can do so on 24th January. This event sees a night of comedy, live music and delicious food and drink with the hilarious Scott Gibson, plus a delicious three-course meal from award-winning local restaurant Urban Angel. To top it all off there will be an exhilarating ceilidh finale from the incredible Kilter Ceilidh Band.

Edinburgh Urban Angel facade

Urban Angel Restaurant

 

  • Date: 24th January, 2020
  • Time: 19:30  – 23:30
  • Venue: Freemason’s Hall, 96 George Street
  • Ticket: £50 (Including booking fee)
  • You can book the ticket here

 

11. Bairns’ Burns Supper: Family ceilidh dancing

You can join the incredible Kilter Ceilidh Band and some superb ceilidh callers for an entertaining, relaxed, child-friendly event. This all-ages event promises fun for all, and the kids can get an authentic taste of a Burns Supper with haggis.

Edinburgh Freemasons Hall facade

Freemason’s Hall, 96 George Street, Edinburgh

  • Date: 25th January 2020
  • Time: 12:00  – 13:00 
  • Venue: Freemason’s Hall, 96 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3DH.
  • Price: Free; just turn up with your dancing shoes ready.

For those unfamiliar with Scottish ceilidh dancing, watch the video below for a demonstration or see our blog post for more information.

 

 

12. The Ceilidh House: Tam O’Shanter at the Scottish Storytelling Centre

The Scottish Storytelling Centre brings you a family event on this special day. You can celebrate Burns Night and Chinese New Year with your family and friends for a special improvised ceilidh telling of Tam O’ Shanter in a friendly, lively, and enjoyable setting, with the chance to participate or just sit back and enjoy the fun!

  • Date: 25th January 2020
  • Time: 19:30 – 22:00
  • Venue: Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR
  • Price: £10.00 
  • You can buy tickets here.

 

13. Museums in Mandarin & Collections in Cantonese

You can come and explore the highlights of the collections and museum with the Museums in Mandarin and Collections in Cantonese teams in St Cecilia’s Hall and the Anatomical Museum.

Tours are free but ticketed.

St Cecilia's Hall Edinburgh

St Cecilia’s Hall, Niddry Street, Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1NQ

  • Date: Fri 24 Jan and Sat 25 Jan (Times & prices vary)
  • Location: St Cecilia’s Hall (0131 650 2600), Niddry Street, Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1NQ; Anatomical Museum (0131 650 1000), Doorway 3, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG.

 

14. Scottish Textiles Showcase

A showcase of work by Scottish artisans and woolen mills at which you can enjoy a free dram. Entry is free too!

Scottish Textiles Showcase Edinburgh

Photo credit: @scottishtextilesshowcase Instagram

  • Date: 20th Jan 2020 to 2nd February 2020
  • Time: 10:00 – 19:00
  • Location: Tron Kirk, Hunter Square, EH1 1QW
  • Find out more here.

 

15. Tartan Meets Tradition Chocolat Lock In

Hotel Chocolat is holding a chocolate-tasting event in its Frederick Street store to celebrate Burns Night and Chinese New Year. This event is perfect for chocolate lovers.

  • Dates:  20th Jan 2020, 22nd Jan 2020, 24th Jan 2020, 25th Jan 2020
  • Time: 18:15 – 19:15
  • Price: £10 for admission
  • Location: Hotel Chocolat, 7a Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2EY.

 

If you are looking for a holiday apartment within 10 minutes’ walk of Princes Street, our Cobbled Lane Mews or Heriot Row Apartment will delight you. The city’s best New Town and Old Town attractions are within short walking distance of each property. 

Cobbled Lane Mews

Heriot Row

 

Visiting Edinburgh in 2020?

If you plan to visit Edinburgh in 2020, why not enjoy your holiday in a charming self-catering apartment with Greatbase? Our holiday apartments are centrally located with well-equipped kitchens and comfortable bedrooms. You can enjoy your holiday in style and feel completely at home. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment on this post or contact us directly using the details at the top of the web page. You can discover more about our holiday properties here.

 

Would you like to know the best things to do for Valentine’s Day in EdinburghClick here to see how you can celebrate a special Valentine’s Day with your loved one.

Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh

Best things to do for Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh

Plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh? How about getting some inspiration for romantic Valentine’s Day gifts and experiences to share with your beloved? Look no further as we have you covered with the best things to do for Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for updates in the coming weeks!

1. Where to Buy Chocolate For Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh? 

What would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate? The gifting of chocolates on this special occasion was conceived in the 19th century by Richard Cadbury, whose name is synonymous with chocolate here in the UK. The tradition has been a mainstay of Valentine’s Day ever since and for that reason, a truly romantic chocolate-based experience goes further. Fortunately, a Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh won’t leave you short of options as the city has a thriving chocolate scene. See our suggestions below for the best chocolate-themed experiences to treat your loved one to on 14th February.

 

The Chocolatarium, 3 – 5 Cranston Street            

Why not go on a chocolate-making experience? The newest attraction on this list offers 90-minute guided chocolate tours in its Old Town premises adapted from a former escape room. Inspired by her work on South American cocoa plantations, the owner and tour guide resolved to put authenticity at the core of her venture and the result is an educational and interactive experience serving as a great gift and memory for chocoholics. Learn about, make and taste chocolate from all over the world in a nut-free environment, with vegan options available throughout. As a neat little extra, you can also present a gift voucher for the tour in the style of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket!

 

Coro the Chocolate Cafe, 13 Frederick Street

This speciality café lives up to its name with its chocolate-themed menu for breakfast and brunch, including crepes, cakes, waffles, pancakes, milkshakes and other sweet treats. The venue also offers savoury options and allows you to create your own desserts so is a safe choice even for non-chocolate lovers. If this somehow fails to satisfy your sweet-tooth, you needn’t dismay as you have a Thorntons with a chocolate fountain as your backup option right underneath!

Coro The Chocolate Cafe Edinburgh - Valentine's Day in Edinburgh

 

 

Chocolate Lounge in Harvey Nichols, 30 – 34 St Andrew Square

Found on the fourth floor of Scotland’s only Harvey Nichols store on the exclusive retail street of Multrees Walk, the chocolate lounge is equal parts cafe, ice cream parlour and ‘choctail’ bar. With Harvey Nichols’ trademark glamour, you’ll also find its in-house champagne on offer, as well as fondues, baked goods and smoothies.  

The Chocolate Lounge in Harvey Nichols, Multrees Walk - Valentine's Day in Edinburgh

 

Considerit, 3 – 5a Sciennes

This plant-based café and confectioners is an ideal option for vegans, with the shop’s owner, Claire, being a regular at Edinburgh’s popular vegan festival. Remarkably, her plant-based range encompasses not only chocolate but also doughnuts and ice cream in a range of fun flavours. Find Considerit at 3 – 5a Sciennes from Tuesdays to Sundays.

 

 

Hotel Chocolat, 7A Frederick Street

The first Hotel Chocolat was established in North London in 2004 and its popularity was such that it has now grown to encompass over 100 shops, cafes and restaurants. Despite its name, the chain’s only hotel is on a cocoa plantation in the Caribbean. The Edinburgh branch features a café as well as a boutique and ice cream parlour. You can therefore either purchase chocolates to take home for your loved one or make it a date and drop in together.

 

2. Where To Buy Flowers In Edinburgh

Chocolate and flowers go hand-in-hand as Valentine’s Day essentials. Those lucky enough to spend their Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh will be happy to discover that the city has no shortage of quality florists; please find our roundup of the best below.

 

Rose & Ammi Florist, 2 Gillespie Crescent

This charming little shop stocks a range of plants, vases and pots, as well as chocolates made locally in Leith and extra gifts such as candles.

 

Simpson’s Florists, 23 West Preston Street

Besides fresh flowers for any budget, this florist has an online shop selling fruit and chocolate hampers, balloons and champagne. Even better, they also provide immediate delivery throughout Edinburgh. Their Valentine’s range includes a ‘florist choice’ option whereby the local florist will curate a bouquet for you, which is great for those who aren’t familiar with flowers!

 

Lorraine Graham Flowers, 45 Causewayside

Located just along from Summerhall, this independent floral design studio and shop specialize in plants that thrive in the challenging Scottish climate, and also stock a range of pots and planters. The Valentine’s favourites of luscious red roses, pink roses and white tulips were right inside the door.

 

Narcissus, 87 Broughton Street

Purveyor of specialist fresh flowers and bespoke bouquets and vases, Narcisuss was founded in 1997 and also sells home décor products. Its partner institution, The Narcissus Flower School, can be found at 15 East Norton Place and its floristry workshops could make a more imaginative Valentine’s gift, with classes available for all levels of experience.

Narcissus Flower Shop - Valentine's Day in Edinburgh

 

 

Garlands Florist, 29 Elm Row

Another veteran business with over three decades’ experience, Garlands Florist is a family-run venture at the top of Leith Walk. They’ve done the hard work for you and put together a Valentine’s Day range of bouquets, cuddly toys, vases and chocolates.

 

Fioritalia Florists, 6 Rodney Street

With over 30 years in the business, Fioritalia Florists are also very accessible as they’re open seven days a week. Fioritalia is a great place to pick up a presentation bouquet, but also sells chocolates, pottery, glassware, handmade cards and vases.

Fioritalia Flowers - Valentine's Day in Edinburgh

 

 

Banks Florists, 30A Raeburn Place

Based in the popular area of Stockbridge, Banks Florists also has its own Valentine’s Day range encompassing flowers, chocolates and wine. This family-run florist delivers throughout Edinburgh, where they can provide same-day delivery.

Banks Florists - Valentine's Day in Edinburgh

 

 

  • If you’re not already in Edinburgh or haven’t made plans to visit yet, why not go the extra mile and book a Valentine’s getaway? As it falls on a Friday, it could make for a great weekend break. Our self-catering properties are all ideally located in the city centre within walking distance of all the above. Their well-equipped kitchens would allow you to prepare a romantic meal for two between venturing into the city. Moreover, they provide a cosy nesting ground upon your return. See below for our range of central properties suitable for couples to share a romantic Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh. If you want to see our full selection of properties, just check out our home page.

Rutland Square

Dundas Apartment

Grassmarket 1

Grassmarket 4

Grassmarket 5

Sources

https://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/engaged-ethics/our-people/Our-Story.html

http://www.multreeswalk.co.uk/

https://www.corochocolate.co.uk/about/https://food.list.co.uk/place/93401-considerit-edinburgh/

https://www.direct2florist.co.uk/fioritalia-f80730/#florist

https://findit.scotsman.com/company/438788461113344

http://ef5e7f0f2d9ba366c072-dc4ba8bd295a3c3035a2eaa0fc98f6b0.r56.cf2.rackcdn.com/Chocolate%20Lounge%20Edinburgh%20Menu.pdf

https://www.harveynichols.com/restaurant/edinburgh-dining/chocolate-lounge/

https://fioritalia.co.uk/delivery/https://www.garlandsflorist.co.uk/About_Us.aspx

http://www.banks-florists.co.uk/category/valentines/https://www.yell.com/biz/simpsons-florist-edinburgh-900585178/

What’s on in Edinburgh: August

Infographic produced using Easel.ly (www.easel.ly)

Spotlight on: Edinburgh International Magic Festival

Who? A host of magicians, some friendly staff, and punters (including me; and how about you?).

What? Edinburgh International Magic Festival, which brings performers and audiences together to explore the art of amazement and astonishment.

When? Until this Saturday, fourth July.

Where? Various venues; primarily Summerhall, made over as Magic Village.

The obligatory why? Because magic!

Last weekend, I attended the Opening Night Party of Edinburgh International Magic Festival as a guest blogger. This was a well-devised event offering a preview of the magicians who stage full-fledged shows over the duration of the wider festival.

Arriving at Summerhall, a mainstay of Edinburgh’s arts scene, you’ll find the venue enchantingly decorated as the festival’s Magic Village. Summerhall’s school conception is apparent as you navigate its stairs and corridors, but the affable festival staff are always on hand to point you in the direction of a show and to manage the queues.

The venue’s courtyard is the locus at which to relax between shows, as well as indulge in some La Favorita pizza or Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The courtyard also has an interactive installation, “Sweet Dreams”, a flower bed which changes colour as you circle it. Additionally, Tam Shepherd’s Magic Shop offers tools of the trade to those inspired to practice magic themselves.

The Opening Night Party’s shows were diverse in style, but all the magicians had a comedic touch and were adept at establishing camaraderie with their audiences. Ali Cook set an impressive precedent in “The Art of Astonishment”, making his assistants vanish and reappear in the blink of an eye before seemingly impaling one with flaming rods, only to have her emerge from entrapment unharmed, and with company to boot.

Dr Houstoun’s “Conjuring” was a more understated affair, but no less impressive for that. Houstoun brought Summerhall back to its academic roots when he interspersed lecturing on his Victorian heroes, the forefathers of modern magic, with the spellbinding multiplication and disappearance of coins, demonstrating why he’s Magic Circle’s current Close-up Magician of the Year.

Colin Cloud’s “Kills” was much more congenial than the title suggests (although he did say his preview wasn’t representative of his full shows, so don’t hold me to that). It was the most interactive performance of the evening (involving the entire audience at times) in which Cloud displayed feats of interpretation to deduce the characteristics of selected guests. I must admit that I’m a skeptic and remain one still, although Cloud’s wit and engaging personality kept me entertained throughout.

Mark Elsdon adopted a uniquely intimate format for his show, dubbed “10”, in which he performs 10 tricks for an audience of 10 in 10 minutes, saying only 10 words per trick. It augments the power of close-up magic, and his was another display of prestidigitation, involving coins, elastic bands, and a spoon which became a fork in his mouth. For his finale, Elsdon requested a ten-pound note from our group. He proceeded to sign and puncture it through the middle with a pen, to the dismay of its owner. But Elsdon fulfilled his mantra, ‘astonishment is real’, when he drew the pen right through the note…leaving it intact.

Luke Eaton’s “The Late Night Horror Magic Show” was another which didn’t quite tally with its title; if like me you’d expect blood and gore, you will be surprised (or relieved) that the premise was for Eaton to have a nail hammered up his nose courtesy of an audience member (he admitted a tendency to target attractive young women, so the squeamish among you had better duck). Eaton described his show’s appeal as akin to picking a scab; repellent and yet satisfying. If you like watching people victimize themselves, then this will be right up your alley, and if not, then you can revel in schadenfreude at the poor person who has to force that intimidating length of nail up his nostril.

There were several shows I didn’t manage to see at the party, but before leaving, I also got a glimpse of Trendy Wendy’s DJ set, sensibly positioned in the upstairs Dissection Room so as not to disrupt the sedate (though by no means sensible) proceedings below.

The Opening Night Party got the festival off to a promising start and if you’re interested in seeing some live magic, check EIMF’s website for the full package from some of the skilled illusionists mentioned above.

 

Thanks for reading!

Calum : )

What’s on in Edinburgh: May 2015

Imaginate Festival 2015 (Monday 11th – Sunday 17th)

Now in its 26th year, Scotland’s annual international festival of performing arts for children and young people is again to be held in venues throughout Edinburgh.

A free Imaginate Festival Family Fringe is billed to take place during the festival’s closing weekend, featuring arts and crafts in addition to shows and performances. The full festival programme, comprising 14 shows, can be found here, and you can also download the festival brochure. Bookings can be made with the Traverse Theatre, with individual tickets costing £12 (£8 concessionary rate) and only available in person (10 Cambridge Street) or over the telephone (0131 228 1404). Family tickets are in increments of £8 per family member, with a minimum number of children to qualify.

 

Summerhall’s Beer FestivALE! (Friday 15th and Saturday 16th)

Hosted in the emblematic Summerhall venue, this beer and spirit festival returns for its spring iteration, offering stalls, street food, music, brewery and distillery tours (during the daytime sessions), and DJs (during the night-time sessions). Tickets cost £8 per session, and also include drinks tokens to the value of £4.

 

Festival of Museums (Friday 15th – Sunday 17th)

This festival comprises a wide range of activities for all audiences from museums and galleries across the country. Ticket prices and booking procedures vary by venue; listings are updated daily, and those for Edinburgh and the Lothians can be found here.

 

Yotties012

Yotties’ Week at The Royal Yacht Britannia (Monday 18th – Thursday 21st) [pictured]

Between 18th to 21st May, Britannia will welcome back some former Royal Yachtsmen (‘Yotties’) to share their stories. The yachtsmen will don their historic uniforms and regale visitors with their accounts of what life was like for the 240-strong crew who manned the royal residence while it was in service. Adult tickets cost £14 (with a concessionary rate of £12.50 available to students and over-60’s) plus a £1 booking fee, and can be purchased here.

 

Edinburgh International Tango Festival (Friday 22nd – Monday 25th)

The highlight of this not-for-profit event, run by the Edinburgh Tango Society, is its Summer Ball, boasting live music from the up-and-coming Sexteto Visceral young orchestra. A series of afternoon matinées, evening shows and milongas (an Argentinian ballroom dance, predecessor to the tango), dancing workshops (beginner to expert), and DJ sets will run over the course of the weekend.

Tickets range from £4 per day for the Tango Café to £25 for the Summer Ball, while a range of discounted packages are available for multiple ticket purchases until Friday 8th May. Bookings can be made using the booking form or by emailing bookings@eitf.org.uk.

 

Hidden Door (Friday 22nd – Saturday 30th)

Hidden Door is a volunteer-run not for profit arts festival, this year comprising nine days of music, visual art, cinema, and theatre between its Secret Courtyard on Kings Stables Road and Edinburgh’s Bongo Club. Some of its arts programmes are now up on the website, as are details of the launch party (entry only £3) and opening night line-up.

Entry price varies by date, with tickets generally costing upwards of £10, including a small service fee. Tickets for just the Secret Courtyard, or for the Secret Courtyard and the Bongo Club, can be purchased here, while those for only the Bongo Club must be purchased from their website.

 

The Edinburgh Whisky Stramash (Saturday 23rd – Sunday 24th)

This event will procure over 200 whiskies from around the world for visitors to sample, as well as a series of whisky-related experiences to partake in. All samplings and experiences are included in the ticket price, while food and souvenirs will be available to purchase separately. Tickets for each weekend slot cost around £30, while an additional secret subsidiary event (scheduled for the Friday evening) costs around £10.

 

Gardening Scotland (Friday 29th – Sunday 31st)

The Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh is to host Scotland’s biggest gardening and outdoor living fair, spanning three days and featuring a plethora of horticultural paraphernalia and expert gardeners, on hand to inform and advise visitors.

Garden Avenue will also be displaying the work of garden designers tasked with inspiring visitors with what can be achieved in typical home gardens. A Food Theatre, Food Fayre, and Craft Marquee are also billed for the event, as are kids’ educational and play activities.

Advance tickets for the Friday cost £15, while those for the Saturday or Sunday come in at £13. All tickets are subject to an additional 50p processing fee.

 

As usual, we’ll provide reminders and ongoing coverage of several of these events on our Facebook and Twitter channels, so follow our accounts to stay up to date. Let us know what you’re planning to do in Edinburgh this May using the comments function, and stay tuned to this blog for future entries in the series and more besides.

What’s on in Edinburgh: April 2015

Events beginning in April [including Beltane Fire Festival, pictured]

 

Dinosaurs Return! at Edinburgh Zoo (Friday 3rd – Sunday 1st November)

Edinburgh Zoo is going Jurassic with a range of impressive animatronic dinosaurs, in an exhibition intended to raise awareness about the threat of extinction faced by many modern-day species. No need to book!

 

Edinburgh International Science Festival (Saturday 4th – Sunday 19th)

EISF was founded in 1989 as an educational charity with the aim of inspiring everyone to engage with the surrounding world, which they fulfil through work on an international scale. Within Edinburgh, however, their name is more often recognized as their eponymous festival, a long-time mainstay of the city’s April calendar, but which can in fact claim its pedigree as the world’s first science festival, and today sees a variety of informative events spanning two weeks. The Festival caters for both children and adults, with a more educational and interactive focus for a younger audience, and a series of intellectual discussions, screenings, and more for adults. There are also family-oriented events, including science shows, workshops, and exhibitions, so the programme is all-inclusive.

This year’s Festival, dubbed The Ideas Factory, will see the halls, galleries, theatres, and gardens of Edinburgh play host to scientific innovation. Tickets for most events are in the surprisingly affordable £2.50-£5 price bracket (some are free), and a range of concessions are available, including for group bookings.

Tickets; FAQ 1: About the Festival; FAQ 2: Visitor Information

 

 

Cowgate Pop-up Market (Saturday 4th)

This event will run from 1pm-5pm across a dozen Cowgate venues. A range of art, craft, fashion, music, and food stalls will be erected at Movement, Opium, Sneaky Pete’s, Dropkick Murphy’s, The Three Sisters, Brewdog, The Mash House, La Belle Angele, City Café, Cabaret Voltaire, Pilgrim, and The Bongo Club.

 

The Old Town Street Food Festival (Easter Sunday, 5th)

Fairs at The Three Sisters pub (139 Cowgate) will resume on Easter Sunday, featuring some of Scotland’s best pop-up food vendors and live music acts. Visitors will be granted free admission to the venue, which will host four music stages with over 25 live acts, including several DJs. In addition to the seven customary bars, including a specialized Real Ale Bar, the catering provision will extend to the eight food vendors who have already been confirmed; a list of these exhibitors can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

 

Edinburgh International Harp Festival (Friday 10th – Wednesday 15th)

Another festival dating from the 1980s (82 to be exact, when it went under a different name and premises), this one sees an annual gathering of international harpists at Merchiston Castle School, where they can share their talents with the wider world. The festival is organized by The Clarsach Society as part of its wider outreach programme of events, courses and classes, and with sufficient demand will be followed by additional beginners’ classes, also planned to take place in Edinburgh (details to be confirmed during the festival).

Again, a range of discounts and concessionary rates are available, including for group bookings (eight and above). As they are hosting different categories of events, prices vary widely, so check the programme overview here.

Tickets; FAQ

 

Edinburgh Comic Con (Saturday 11th – Sunday 12th)

Returning for its second year at Potterrow, this convention capitalizes on its line-up of special guests with an insightful programme of events, including cosplay competitions (with both adults’ and kids’ editions; registration required for both), prop displays, a charity auction in aid of Midlothian Foodbank, and of course a raft of industry talent and traders.

Ticket prices are £10 for single day adult admission and £18.50 for weekend admission. Child tickets cost £7.50 per day and £15.00 for the weekend; two under-10’s can be admitted free per paying adult, and the child ticket rate also applies to concessionary visitors.

 

Morrisons Great Edinburgh Run (Sunday 19th)

First run (sorry) in 2005, the Morrisons Great Edinburgh Run now attracts in excess of 5000 people for a 10 mile run through central Edinburgh, with Greyfriars Bobby, the Royal Mile, the Scott Monument, and Edinburgh Castle as esteemed checkpoints. The event caters for a range of abilities with Junior (2.5k) and Mini (1.5k) Great Edinburgh Runs at Holyrood Park also featuring, as well as the advent of team relays for the main run, which see the 10 mile distance covered by two runners. Charity running places and business entries are also available.

Entry costs £27 for adults, £12 for Juniors (nine-15-year-olds) and £11 for three–eight-year-olds (“Minis”); business entrants can claim back VAT at £4.50 per entry.

 

Dead by Dawn (Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th)

Yet another Edinburgh-born festival on this month’s roster, Dead by Dawn is also the UK’s longest-running horror film festival, returning to the Filmhouse for its 22nd edition with a new curation of independent previews, renowned classics, and shorts. The programme also features special guests and asides, most notably “Spawn of Dawn”, which runs concurrently with, and showcases a selection of films from, the mother festival. Spawn of Dawn is for the owls among filmgoers, running from midnight on Saturday 25th until 11am on Sunday 26th.

Tickets for Dead by Dawn cost £75 and those for Spawn of Dawn cost £25 (not interchangeable); alternatively, individual tickets for all screenings are available, news on which is posted on the festival’s Facebook page. All tickets can be purchased from the Filmhouse by over-18’s only.

 

TradFest  – Dùn Èideann (Wednesday 29th – Sunday 10th May) [including the Beltane Fire Festival, pictured]

TradFest celebrates traditional Scottish culture around Scotland’s May festivals (Beltane and Mayday) which mark the beginning of summer, bringing the city to life to reflect Mother Nature’s resurgence. This inclusive festival encompasses both national and local arts institutions with events featuring an international body of performers. The Pleasance will be the festival’s music hub; the Edinburgh Filmhouse is to stage the world’s first festival of Folk Cinema; the Scottish Storytelling Centre, site of TradFest’s box office, is naturally the hotspot for song, story, music, dance, and crafts, as well as workshops and walking tours; book events are billed for the National Library of Scotland and Blackwell’s Bookshop; and a TradFest Trail incorporates a number of smaller venues boasting strong associations with Scottish folk culture.

Perhaps the most prevalent TradFest event is the Beltane Fire Festival, claiming its origin from the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane, held on the evening of 30th April in celebration of the commencement of summer. This tradition is preserved by the modern iteration, which takes the format of a procession and is situated on the scenic Calton Hill, beginning at the National Monument and enacting a ritualistic drama in an anti-clockwise circuit. This year’s festival promises to be the most spectacular to date, with hundreds of costumed performers wielding a plethora of instruments, torches, and sculptures, as well as the symbolic lighting of a bonfire by the dramatic leads, the May Queen and Green Man. For the first time, the festival will incorporate sound and light performance and a garden of giant mushrooms made from wax found in the city’s underground caves. It will also see the reinstatement of the Incorporation of Candlemakers of Edinburgh, who partook in the Beltane celebrations of medieval times.

Tickets for 12’s-and-over begin at £8 and become incrementally more expensive closer to the festival date (children under 12 are admitted free of charge).

Tickets

 

 

As usual, we’ll provide reminders and ongoing coverage of several of these events on our Facebook and Twitter channels, so follow our accounts to stay up to date. Finally, let us know what you’re planning to do in Edinburgh this April using the comments function, and stay tuned to this blog for future entries in the series and more besides.

What’s on in Edinburgh: March 2015

Events beginning in March

 

Wee Dub Festival (Friday 6th – Sunday 8th March)

The country’s biggest celebration of dub, reggae and soundsystem culture returns to Edinburgh for its fifth iteration. From modest roots as a one-night one-venue event in 2011, the Wee Dub programme has expanded to span 3 days in March across 7 central Old Town venues.

Tickets are available for either the whole weekend at £37 including the booking fee (over-18’s only), or for individual sessions; see the festival programme for prices. They can be purchased online or at one of several venues in Edinburgh and Glasgow; for details, click here.

 

The Carol Nash MCN Scottish Motorcycle Show (Saturday 7th – Sunday 8th March)

MCN celebrates its 60th anniversary with Scotland’s biggest motorcycle show, to be staged at Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre over a weekend in March. In addition to sporting the latest models from household names, for which MCN are able to procure exclusive offers, there will be live action stunt showpieces, and a raft of goods available in the Bike Jumble sale and Retail Village. The show will also host the country’s most comprehensive range of classic motorcycles, spanning over 8 decades, in its dedicated Classics Pavilion. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 will be able to partake in a supervised bike ride along a purpose-built street scene courtesy of Honda.

Advance tickets are available until 9pm on Friday 6th March and cost £12 per day for adults and £10 for seniors (over-65’s), while children (under-15’s) are admitted for free. Tickets will also be available on the day at a cost of £16 for adults and £14 for seniors. Additional parking charges of £6 per car apply (there is no charge for motorcycles) – see the FAQ.

 

Edinburgh Fashion Week (Saturday 7th – Sunday 15th March)

This celebration of Edinburgh’s fashion scene encapsulates shows and catwalks, shopping evenings, styling sessions, and offers and giveaways. Reserved seating for the runway shows held in the fashion hub on The Mound over the opening weekend has been completely booked out, but unreserved seats in the back rows will be available each day. G&V Hotel will provide samples of their afternoon tea selection to attendees, and a range of beverages, including the Italian imports of Prosecco and Menabrea, and the locally-brewed Pickering’s Pea-cocktails and Gin and Tonic, is to be served as refreshments between perusing the pop-up shops. The itinerary for the opening weekend can be viewed here; see also the events and offers held over the week.

 

Meadows Marathon (Sunday 8th March) [pictured]

This student-organized charity fundraiser comprises a 5k Fun Run, 10k Run, Half Marathon and Full Marathon, with entry costing £15, £22.50, £27.50 and £40 respectively, and open to ages 11+ (with an adult companion, either spectator or runner), 16+, 17+, and 18+ respectively. A range of offers, discounts, and promotions are detailed here, with qualification criteria including the number registering to run, the amount raised, and the best team and individual costumes. You will be able to register on the day, but the prices of all runs except the Full Marathon will increase. All proceeds from the event go to charity, and if you are fundraising you can choose the beneficiary. All runs consist of differing numbers of laps of the Meadows; the only requirement beyond age is that entrants be confident of their ability to complete their chosen course. Race time restrictions, which are 6 hours for the Full Marathon and 3 hours for the Half Marathon, will be in effect; runners can continue after this but roads will reopen and the organizers’ auspices will be withdrawn. The course route (subject to minor alterations) can be found here.

 

Edinburgh Yarn Festival (Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th March)

Encompassing yarn, knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, and felting, this event will unite teachers, designers, and over 100 vendors at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange. Visitors of all capabilities are welcome, and catering will be available in the festival’s yarn café. This year’s programme will also see the advent of a podcast lounge set, where visitors can meet podcasters from the knitting industry.

Advance booking of tickets will confer access to a fast-track queue on the day, but tickets will also be available to purchase at the event. They can be purchased via this page at a cost of £8 for entry each day and £12 for the weekend.  Classes must be booked separately at £47 each, and include admission on their respective day (or £53 for a class and admission on both days). The one exception is the Quotidian Colourwork class, which comes to £54 and £60 respectively, because of the volume of yarn used. There is disabled access to all 3 venues, and children aren’t admitted to any classes. There is also an evening party, ‘Ca-BAA-ret’, from 7pm until 11pm on the Saturday, including a talk on the publishing of the KNITSONIC Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook, and a knitting-themed quiz with prizes. Party tickets cost £17 and include a drink of your choice; visitors on the Saturday will be able to stay in the yarn café after the closure of the marketplace for the hour until the doors to the party open at 6.30pm.

 

Edinburgh’s Festival of Ireland (TBC; current listings from Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th March)

Edinburgh’s Irish community will be celebrated on and around St Patrick’s Day (Tuesday 17th March). The lineup for this year includes a series of talks on various Irish topics at Word Power Books, a free traditional concert held in Princes Street Gardens, a performance from an acclaimed Irish dance troupe at The Jam House, a community pageant with pipe and jazz bands along Portobello Promenade, and an exhibition in Central Library (details still to be confirmed).

 

The Scottish Tattoo Convention (Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th March)

Another festival which originated in Edinburgh in 2011, like Wee Dub, the Scottish Tattoo Convention has returned each year since, and is now the most anticipated event of its kind in the country. It is to be held in Edinburgh Corn Exchange, and will draw from an international pool of tattooing talent. A predominantly adult-themed programme of entertainment, from professional wrestling to burlesque, has been lined up for the event, in keeping with the age 18 restriction for tattoos in Scotland, although children under 16 can be admitted to the convention if they are accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets cost £23 per day, including the processing fee and collection either in-store or at the event, and £24.60 if you opt for them to be posted out to you (recorded delivery). A weekend ticket costs £34 to collect and £35.60 to be posted.

 

Puppet Animation Festival (Saturday 28th March – Saturday 18th April)

Yet a third festival in this month’s roundup with its inception in Edinburgh, having celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, Puppet Animation has expanded countrywide to become the UK’s largest performing arts event for children. The programme encompasses family-friendly performances, workshops, and films, and incorporates over 150 events for 2015. Listings can be found here; there appears to be a problem with the advanced search so at present visitors have to navigate through the pages and manually find those that meet their preferred criteria.

 

As usual, we’ll provide reminders and ongoing coverage of several of these events on our Facebook and Twitter channels, so follow our accounts to stay up to date. Finally, let us know what you’re planning to do in Edinburgh this March using the comments function, and stay tuned to this blog for future entries in the series and more besides.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Highlights 2014/15

This post documents my experience as an official local blogger for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2014/15. Most people associate Edinburgh’s Hogmanay with the party on New Year’s Eve, but the #blogmanay programme spanned a week, with many local businesses extending a Scottish welcome to bloggers from across the globe.

 

1: The Welcome (Monday 29th December)

What more iconic way to kick things off than a tour at The Scotch Whisky Experience on Castlehill? Here we were taken into a purpose-built vault to see the world’s largest collection of whiskies, numbering 3384 bottles amassed by Brazilian aficionado, Claive Vidiz, over 35 years.

Two vintages singled out during our tour were The Taghta and Black Bowmore. The former is Scottish Gaelic for ‘The Chosen’, as befits a completely crowdsourced whisky, from the cask in which it was matured to its name, bottle and packaging design, promotional photography, and launch event. We were even treated to a dram; I’m no whisky connoisseur, but it certainly tasted different (better) than any I’d had before! Black Bowmore, its name referencing its ebony colour and the first recorded distillery on Islay, was deemed the most valuable bottle in the collection, estimated at around £35,000 (asking for a taste might have been pushing it).

 

2. The Procession (Tuesday 30th December)

On New Year’s Eve, we bloggers joined the rest of the city to partake in the Torchlight Procession, an annual tradition whereby pipers and drummers, tailed by Up Helly Aa Vikings, lead a torchbearing parade down The Mound, across Princes Street, and up Calton Hill. The turnout for the event was a spectacle in itself, the route lined with spectators, some of whom joined the glowing throng as it passed. Amidst the torchbearers myself, I found it most striking when rounding the bends, especially from The Mound toward Princes Street, where a ‘sea of fire’ snaked ahead as far as the eye could see.

At the top of Calton Hill, I was treated to a bonfire, followed by a ravishing fireworks display set to music and cleverly commencing within the majestic National Monument. Met with universal applause from the crowd, the show set a high precedent for the eagerly anticipated display billed for the big night.

 

3. The Party (Wednesday 31st December)

And what a night it was. To begin my circuit of the festivities, I returned to the top of The Mound, where a Hot Dub Time Machine DJ set took revellers through the decades to the variegated sounds of each year’s biggest hits. At 9pm, ABBA parody band Bjorn Again kicked off the celebrations in the party’s centrepiece, The Concert in the Gardens, while its localized counterpart, The Scottish Stage on Frederick Street, was graced by Eddie Reader following a brief fireworks display signalling the end of the hour. Reader’s proficiency with the local dialect reminded me that I was home after all.

I then negotiated my way along Princes Street, innumerable partygoers captivated by a line of screens synced to the Hot Dub DJ set. On The Mound Precinct, Hugh MacDiarmid’s Haircut played for the keilidh, jovial dancers forming a sprawling mass underneath the multicoloured spotlights and against the august backdrop of The Royal Scottish Academy.

Our national presence extended to The Waverley Stage, with Scottish punk rock band The Twilight Sad prevailing over the leftmost strand of the fête.

After more tantalizing fireworks, I completed my circuit in rejoining The Concert for 11.30pm, where zesty headline act Lily Allen was received with aplomb, her psychedelic set of LED pacifiers – and the world’s swaggiest drum kit – complemented by her assured, soothing vocals and glitzy getup (provocatively pared down, and then up again because of the cold).

Allen took a brief hiatus for the world-renowned midnight fireworks, another sensory delight set to pop music, the night sky incandescent with its closing barrage. The camaraderie pervading the enclosure manifested in friends and strangers joining hands for Auld Lang Syne, a special moment that personalized the afore-intimidating crowd, which in all numbered around 75,000.

Allen returned to begin 2015 in style, and beckoned a spirited fan on stage to duet for her closing number. Having grown up in the secluded Scottish highlands, this was my first concert, and although she was the only act I saw in entirety, I left satisfied – even as others in the enclosure were calling for one more song!

 

4. The After-party (Thursday 1st January and Sunday 4th January)

New Year’s Day saw Scot:Lands, a series of Scottish showcases held in enviable venues throughout Edinburgh’s Old Town. Neu:Land was hosted in The Hub (aka Edinburgh Festival Centre), and presented by Neu:Reekie, a local arts collective. Edinburgh- and Glasgow-based 4-piece Teen Canteen performed before a showing of Kenny McAskill’s riveting daredevil short “The Ridge” (if you’re sorry for having missed out on the public screening, don’t forget the upcoming mountain film festivals!).

Next, it was across to the splendid St Giles’ Cathedral for an interpretation of Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem ‘Scotland’, courtesy of Dance Base.

Finally, Hebcelt Festival created Hebcelt:Land in Edinburgh University’s McEwan Hall, where Rura regaled us and Malin played for the climactic ceilidh, the audience eventually (!) getting to their feet to fill the grand central hall.

Our send-off show on the 4th of January was performed in the St Andrew Square spiegeltent, erected for Edinburgh’s Christmas. Billed as a raucous burlesque, this was another first for me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect of ‘Briefs: The Second Coming’. Given it was staged at a late hour I only anticipated that it would be risqué; and that it was, moreover in the way that delights, which is to say, self-consciously, brazenly, and therefore hilariously. Ample light relief came in the banter of our witty and warming transvestite host, Shivannah, as well as in the prevalence of bananas, with which several audience members were victimized (fortunately I wasn’t among them!). Most memorable for me, however, was the skilfulness undergirding the show: the acrobatics were awesome, Shivannah’s magic breathtaking, and the ensemble elements captivating. Sadly, for prudent health and safety reasons photos are prohibited, which does them a disservice with all the spectacle involved. Briefs was a revelation and I’ll be catching them again if they’re back for the Fringe this year.

 

Summary

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience blogging for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. It had a high novelty factor with my first concert, my first burlesque, and my first venture as an official blogger. The atmosphere throughout was upbeat, the shows were exciting and often surprising, and overall it left me with many memorable experiences to close one year and begin another on a high. A big thank you is due to the parties mentioned in the disclaimer below, and to Charlotte Gosling, our handler from organizers Unique Events, in particular.

#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by ETAGEventScotlandVisitScotlandHomecoming Scotland and co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced by Unique Events. As always, all opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

 

Additional sources

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7656450.stm

http://www.bowmore.com/whiskies/black-bowmore-1964/

http://www.edinburghshogmanay.com/events/torchlight-procession