Brass bands to float down Water of Leith for EIF

Fanfare is a free Festival event that will have 12 Scottish Brass Bands performing along the Water of Leith. Picture: Contributed
Fanfare is a free Festival event that will have 12 Scottish Brass Bands performing along the Water of Leith. Picture: Contributed
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A DOZEN brass bands will fill the banks of the Water of Leith with music as part of Edinburgh’s international festival this summer, organisers have revealed.

Renditions of music by Kraftwerk and Joy Division, as well as the Disney hit Let it Go, from the film frozen, will be performed at 12 different points alongside the river.

Fanfare is an opportunity for us to further explore this beautiful city

Fergus Linehan

Pieces by Mahler, Elgar and Burns will also be played during the series of free performances, which will see the bands play exactly the same repertoire at the same time.

The Sunday afternoon event, which is aimed at celebrating Scotland’s little-known brass band heritage, is the latest innovation introduced to the event by its new festival director Fergus Linehan.

Some of the nation’s brass bands have roots stretching back as far as the early 19th century, when they were among the country’s first ever music ensembles.

Mr Linehan’s debut programme has embraced pop, indie and folk music, with the historic Hub building on the Royal Mile set to be transformed into a new late-night cabaret-style venue.

He has also introduced children’s shows into his programme and has moved the dates of the EIF so it will coincide with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time in 17 years this summer.

The festival will open with a free broadcast of a concert by the Edinburgh Festival Chorus outside the Usher Hall, which will have vast digital animations beamed onto it. Around 10,000 people are expected to fill the streets outside the venue to take in the sound and light spectacle.

The brass band event on 23 August, billed as “A Fanfare for the Festival City”, is being staged to coincide with one of the main EIF shows, En Evant, March!, a music theatre production set in the rehearsal room of an amateur brass band in Flanders.

The EIFF wants its event, which is simply entitled “Fanfare,” to capture the spirit of community of brass bands by allowing anyone to experience the “heart-swelling flourish” of its music being performed.

The festival - which has lined up performances at noon, 3pm and 5pm - has joined forces with the Scottish Brass Band Association to bring in long-running groups from the likes of Bathgate, Clackmannan, Dalmellington, Kirkintilloch and Newtongrange.

Mr Linehan said: “The Festival has been entertaining Edinburgh audiences since 1947, taking over the city centre’s grand established theatre venues and concert halls.

“Fanfare is an opportunity for us to further explore this beautiful city, using its natural landscapes and share the festival experience with a wider audience.”

Sally Hobson, head of creative learning at the festival, added: “Settled within the many natural amphitheatres along the Waters of Leith, Fanfare offers a genuine opportunity for audiences to engage collectively with an eclectic range of music at several points throughout the day.

“Knowing that many people along the route from Balerno to Leith will be listening to same music will add a real sense of city-wide community involvement.”