Edinburgh International Festival have announced full details for Light on the Shore with Edinburgh Gin Seaside, a unique season celebrating the creativity, originality and international impact of Scottish popular music.
From punk to post-punk, from new wave to no wave, from alt folk to pop folk, from ambient electronica to techno, this truly eclectic season is driven by some of Scotland’s most innovative artists, curators and promoters.
The season features 16 events across 14 nights, running from Friday 9 to Saturday 25 August at Leith Theatre. Closed for almost 30 years, this unique venue is once more welcoming audiences to one of Edinburgh’s most vibrant and creative districts.
Inspired by the individualism of music-making within Scotland, the season reflects the breadth and depth of its music scene, spanning decades and crossing continents and genres. It celebrates the interconnectivity of Scotland’s musical landscape, inviting artists and organisations to connect, collaborate and celebrate the most exciting and influential musicians on their playlists.
Artists appearing in concert include Mogwai, King Creosote, Django Django – sharing a bill with C Duncan and Happy Meals – and Karine Polwart, whose Scottish Songbook evening celebrates Scottish pop anthems from artists including Deacon Blue, Big Country and Annie Lennox.
Essential, ground-breaking works by Scottish artists are reimagined in three orchestral concerts. Martyn Bennett’s Bothy Culture features The GRIT Orchestra in a live performance of the celtic-fusion pioneer’s final album at the Edinburgh Playhouse; Berlin’s classical collective s t a r g a z e rework Scottish electronic legends Boards of Canada’s 1996 classic Hi Scores for 12-piece orchestral ensemble, and Southbank Sinfonia join Anna Meredith with new arrangements for electronic and orchestral forces to expand her Scottish Album of the Year Award-winning Varmints.
Guest curators from festivals and collectives across Scotland bring their own perspective to Light on the Shore in a series of bespoke events. Hidden Door presents alt-indie legends The Jesus and Mary Chain, headlining a bill which segues from the shoegaze scene to pastoral indie folk and features Glasgow bands Honeyblood and Spinning Coin.
Neu! Reekie! present two evenings inspired by the anarchic spirit of cult heroes: the first evening features a legend of New York’s 1970s no wave scene, Lydia Lunch, Edinburgh’s own post-punk icons Fire Engines and Kraut-rock pioneer Michael Rother, leader of Neu! and an original member of Kraftwerk; whilst the second brings together Scottish alt-rock icons The Vaselines and The Pastels with ground-breaking spoken word artist and dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson.
TeenCanteen singer Carla J Easton shines a spotlight on Scotland’s forgotten girl bands in Since Yesterday: The Unsung Women Pioneers of Pop which features Sacred Paws, Bossy Love, and The Van T’s. Glasgow record label Numbers presents an evening of innovative electronic music, with live performance and DJ sets from a selection of national and international guests.
International Festival Director Fergus Linehan said: ‘Light on the Shore has been a wide-ranging collaborative effort. The support of the Expo Fund through the Scottish Government and our sponsors Edinburgh Gin have allowed us to present a hugely diverse and far reaching programme; the work of the Leith Theatre Trust and festivals such as Hidden Door have brought this magnificent venue back to life; and the curatorial talents of many of Scotland’s greatest artists and promoters have delivered a truly unique snapshot of Scottish music and its wide-ranging interconnectivity.’
The world-leading Celtic Connections festival presents Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis with Quebecois band Le Vent du Nord, the coming together of two of the most engaging acts from the world of folk and world music.
Inhabiting spaces throughout the Leith Theatre are electronic-folk pioneers Lau, whose day to night presentation of Lau-Land sees them joined by a host of friends and collaborators including the American singer-songwriter Joan As Police Woman, Egyptian electronica artist Nadah El Shazly, folk singer Alasdair Roberts, the psychedelic sound of James Holden, the traditional pipes of Rona Lightfoot and Brighde Chaimbuel, chamber-folk quartet RANT, acapella traditional singers Landless and the Whitburn Band.
Light on the Shore’s final event is an epic evening hosted by Scottish super-star Alan Cumming. In 2016, his show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs and its legendary after-party Club Cumming enjoyed sell-out success at the International Festival. Alan and his band return to Edinburgh to present Club Cumming at the Leith Theatre, closing the season with a raucous mix of dance, drinks and debauchery in his party to end all parties.
Closed to the public since the 1980s, Leith Theatre is re-emerging as a vital contemporary venue for Edinburgh thanks to the perseverance of local organisations such as the Leith Theatre Trust and Hidden Door. Recently described by one critic as, ‘the best live music venue in Scotland’, it forms a natural home for Light on the Shore.
Light on the Shore is supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund.
The International Festival also welcomes new partner Edinburgh Gin Seaside as sponsor of the season, which is produced with Leith based technical partners Black Light and The Warehouse, and in association with the National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop.
Tickets for Light on the Shore with Edinburgh Gin Seaside go on sale today at 10am at eif.co.uk, by phone on 0131 473 2000 or in person at Hub Tickets, The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE.