Edinburgh Festival Carnival and Grassmarket ‘Mardi Gras’ revived as part of the city’s jazz and blues celebration


The Edinburgh Festival Carnival will return for the first time in three years this summer open on the opening weekend of the jazz festival.

Both events will be revived on the opening weekend of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, the first of the big summer events to return this year.

More than 130 concerts will be staged at venues across the city across the 10 days of the festival, which is one of the biggest events of its type in Europe.

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The jazz and blues extravaganza will be the first of Edinburgh’s big summer events to be staged this year after organizers of the film festival decided to move its dates back to August for the first time in 15 years.

Thousands are music fans are expected to pack into the Grassmarket for the return of the jazz festival’s hugely popular ‘Mardi Gras’ event.

The jazz festival will stage shows in George Square Gardens across its 10 days, as well as the Festival Theatre, the Assembly Hall on The Mound, the Roxy, the Jazz Bar

Organizers of the jazz festival are promising to bring ‘a taste of New Orleans’ back to the Grassmarket with a three-hour Mardi Gras on Saturday 16 July, which will feature acts like After Hours, Brass Gumbo and Dopesick Fly.

More than 1000 performers are expected to take part in the Edinburgh Festival Carnival on Sunday 17 July.

Musicians and dancers from Costa Rica, Trinidad, Zambia, the United States, South Africa, the Netherlands, Martinique and France are expected to parade from the top of The Mound to the west end of Princes Street between 1 and 3pm.

More than 800 performers will take part in the Edinburgh Festival Carnival when it returns for the first time in three years this summer.

West Princes Gardens will then be transformed for three hours of free entertainment from musicians, dancers and circus performers.

Organizers of the jazz festival say a mini-carnival will also be staged at the Goodtrees Neighborhood Center in South Edinburgh on 16 Juy, with other out-of-town events planned in the likes of Oxgangs, North Merchiston, Leith, Currie, Granton and Drum Brae.

Festival favorites Jools Holland, Curtis Stigers, Blind Boy Paxton, Soweto Kinch, and Davina and the Vagabonds will all be staging headline shows this year.

Other international guests include John Scofield, Ambrose Akinmusire, Mud Morganfield, Nubya Garcia, Daniele Raimondi, De Beren Gieren and David Blenkhorn.

The Grassmarket will be hosting the jazz festival’s Mardi Gras event in July.

The festival’s “Scottish Jazz Expo” showcase will feature Fergus McCreadie, Ali Affleck, Colin Steele and Martin Kershaw, Richard Glassby, Kitti, Conor Smith and Matthew Kilner.

Jazz festival chair Jason Rust said: “I’m delighted that the festival is back with a program that offers something for everyone at iconic venues across the city.

“I’m proud to see us celebrating the history of the artform in Edinburgh while supporting the brightest and best young talent in Scotland.

“I’m also thrilled that we will continue to build on the hard work of the past two years by presenting a new digital hub which will stream concerts online for those who cannot attend in person.”

The Edinburgh Festival Carnival will return on 17 July. Picture: Jon Savage

Scottish culture minister Neil Gray said: “The festival’s safe return to a packed 10-day festival of music at venues across Edinburgh is an exciting moment for the sector and for audiences.

“I’m proud that £120,000 of support from the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund will allow the festival to stage world premieres and new collaborations, and support young musicians as they take their first steps onto the international stage.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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