The Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival opens on Friday with 10 days of concerts in a hybrid live, in-person and online format.
After last year’s EJBF was forced to quickly reinvent itself as a purely online affair, due to pandemic restrictions, this year the festival will have 20 live, in-person concerts for small, socially-distant audiences at Assembly Roxy.
The Assembly Roxy concerts will be streamed live online as part of a 10-day programme that also includes 20 pre-recorded shows. The online concerts will each cost £10 and be available for 72 hours.
The Scottish Government just announced that Covid-19 restrictions are being eased to Level 0 from Monday 19th July, but it’s too late for a festival that has prided itself on its sociable atmosphere where musicians and audiences rub shoulders in cosy venues.
Concerts by pianist Jools Holland and singer-saxophonist Curtis Stigers, due to take place at the Festival Theatre, have already been booted a year down the calendar (and are no longer part of the EJBF).
The Edinburgh Festival Carnival, which typically kicks off Edinburgh’s festival season, will be going ahead, but online only.
“Ironic that restrictions have just been lifted,” says EJBF producer Fiona Alexander.
Still, while many will miss the live experience, the extravagant costumes and human interaction with performers as they parade down Princes street, the online “Carnival” will include three, three-hour streaming events from 4-pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The events are free to anyone on or off Facebook.
Edinburgh Festival Carnival Programme
Day 1: Samba, drumming, dragons and tarantella
Harlem Samba (USA), ‘Masked Words’ Project (Edinburgh), Bombrando Drum Ensemble (Portugal). ‘Knocking at My Door’ Windygoul Primary School Carnival (Edinburgh), Artscape Theatre ‘Unmute Dance Company’ (South Africa), Edinburgh Hospital Carnival ‘Wave Your Flag’ Project (Edinburgh), Ital Fish Oliver Brown cooking demonstration (Vegetarian Caribbean), Edinburgh Chinese Community Carnival Film (Edinburgh), La Paranza del Geco Italian Carnival (Italy).
Day 2: Percussion, juggling, music and dance
KalentuRa Drum Ensemble (the Netherlands), ‘The Passion Project’ (Edinburgh), ‘Soul City Dance Company’ (Reunion/France), ‘Tatties’ - Ihayami Dance (Edinburgh), 'Cajon is in the Neighbourhood'. Percussion project. (Glasgow), Circo Fantazztico (Costa Rica), Chantal Auguste Trinidadian cooking demonstration (Vegetarian Caribbean), Zarif At Toul as Samer’ Palestinian Dabke Troupe (Edinburgh), Samba Resille (France), Ramuyapik (Edinburgh)
Day 3: Acrobatics, stilt walking, latin American dance and cooking
Barefeet Theatre (Zambia), ‘Knocking at My Door’ Ferryhill Primary School Carnival Porject (Edinburgh), L'Acadco A United Caribbean Dance Force (Jamaica), SCORE Eco-warriors Project (Edinburgh), St James Carnival (Edinburgh), All My Ladies (Spain), Ariel Dance project (Edinburgh), Mercedes Sullca Peruvian cooking demonstration, Latin dance project with Albina Esther Mendoza Cruz (Edinburgh), Carnival in Santiago de Cuba (Cuba)