Market Street vaults to host arts festival

Steph Daughtry at the Market Street vaults. Picture: Scott Taylor
Steph Daughtry at the Market Street vaults. Picture: Scott Taylor
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A SERIES of historic vaults are to play host to a unique arts and music festival – before becoming a part of one of Edinburgh’s most controversial building developments.

The Hidden Door festival is returning to the Capital after a four-year hiatus which has seen the event triple in size.

This year’s festival will feature nine days of live music, writer events and poetry readings, visual and performance arts and film-screenings.

The festival is being held in 24 currently disused vaults on Market Street – created between 1840 and 1914 - which will soon be taken over by the Caltongate development.

Hidden Door founder and Director David Martin said the location was ideal for an event highlighting the best of the underground art scene.

“Hidden Door is not just another festival in the city of festivals, it is about attempting to empower artists who are breaking through now to create a healthy arts-culture for tomorrow. We’re bringing the arts made in Scotland to a new public, in fresh, imaginative ways.

“It’s about creating an experience that is nothing like going to a gallery, or a museum, opening up a hidden part of the city to find the stuff being made, written, or composed right under our noses.”

Highlights include a Lost Map records showcase featuring Kid Canaveral, and The Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, which will screen experimental film pieces from around the world.

Steph Daughtry, 22, of Meadowbank, one of those working to promote the event, said: “We ran two similar, smaller festivals back in 2010 and since then we’ve really just been looking for the right venue to take Hidden Door to the next level. We first approached the council about the Market Street vaults about a year ago. As venues they fit right in with our remit – unique, hidden away spaces that people would not expect to be used for a gig or an art installation. And the vaults will be taken over by Artisan Real Estate – the property developers behind the Caltongate project – shortly after the festival, so this really is the public’s one and only chance to experience them in this way.”

And the organisers are hoping arts-loving citizens may be persuaded to donate more than just their time.

“We have set up a crowdfunding page online. There are options for official funding, but you can spend forever waiting for grants to be approved, so we decided to take a more direct approach. If you donate £20 that will get you a goody bag including entry to one of the nights and poster prints from some of the featured artists. However, if you donate £200 you get a full festival pass and an A3 fine art digital print.”

Hidden Door takes place between March 28 and April 5.