It’s easy to forget that Festival season in Edinburgh doesn’t just mean the Fringe. The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival is the UK’s longest running festival of it’s kind, this is the 38th time Edinburgh has hosted the festival and it starts on Friday!
What Can You See
Originally a Jazz Festival, the event has expanded to include the Blues music, attracting performers and music lovers from all over the world. Like most of Edinburgh’s festivals, it’s a truly international event. The first Jazz Festival was in 1978 and was organised by a Banjo player, Mick Hart.
It began as quite a small event, with free admission to pubs hosting musicians. By the mid-80’s the festival had grown to include ticketed events and welcomed a wider variety of Jazz music, including swing and more mainstream Jazz music. Around this time a separate Blues weekend was added, along with a parade on Princes Street and a whole host of free events in the Grassmarket.
Cultural changes in Edinburgh during the 90’s meant there were fewer pubs to host musicians and the Jazz and Blues Festival was also appealing to a much wider audience. It became an almost exclusively ticketed event and almost all Jazz styles were included.
The Festival concentrates on great music and doesn’t just push the big names, you so can find some truly brilliant hidden gems throughout the festival.
Highlights of the Jazz and Blues Festival
With a huge choice of Jazz and Blues Festival events at great prices, it’s a tough call to choose what is going to be the best to see! If you’re new to the Jazz and Blues world then you’ll have fun using
the “trial and error” approach, although finding a bad performance could be next to impossible!
You can’t miss the carnival though! A treat for the eyes and ears, an incredible parade will leave The Mound at 2:30pm on Sunday 17th July and head towards the West End of Princes Street. There are also performances all afternoon (2:30-5pm) in the Princes Street Gardens and Grassmarket.
From Carribean singers to South African break dancers and Portugese drums to Scottish groups such as the Beltane Society, it will be a fantastic event to see. Make sure you send us your photos if you’re heading along.