Edinburgh Carnival prepares for virtual return as 2021 extravaganza kicks off

The samba beats were in full flow as the Edinburgh Festival Carnival made a vibrant and colourful return to the Capital’s streets, with the event preparing to go virtual for 2021.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 7:07 pm
Carnival performer Monique Hendry was among those present to launch the long-awaited return of the annual event in front of Edinburgh Castle on Castle Terrace in the heart of the city on Wednesday.
Carnival performer Monique Hendry was among those present to launch the long-awaited return of the annual event in front of Edinburgh Castle on Castle Terrace in the heart of the city on Wednesday.

Sporting a bright pink feathered headdress of epic proportions, Carnival performer Monique Hendry was among those present to launch the long-awaited return of the annual event in front of Edinburgh Castle on Castle Terrace in the heart of the city.

Running online-only this year from 4pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 16-18, the 2021 extravaganza – which usually heralds the start of Edinburgh’s festival season – features international and Scottish artists including musicians, dancers, poets, acrobats, jugglers and cooks.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement this week that Covid-19 restrictions are to be eased to Level O from next Monday, has come too soon for the annual parade, but organisers have promised a jaw-dropping display for those who log in to soak in the 2021 event.

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The three-day celebration will feature a vibrant mix of free performances and workshops via Youtube and on Facebook

On day one, viewers can expect samba, drumming, dragons and tarantella, while day two will feature percussion, juggling, music and dance.

The Carnival, which is co-ordinated by the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, will close on Sunday, with acrobatics, stilt walking, Latin American dance, and a Peruvian cooking demonstration from Mercedes Sullca.

Local performances include the Edinburgh ‘Masked Words’ Project, the Edinburgh Hospital Carnival Wave Your Flag Project, the Ihayami Dance troupe, and ‘Knocking at My Door’ by Ferryhill Primary School.

The free family-friendly event, which was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, normally attracts many thousands of spectators, with the dazzling parade starting at the top of the Mound before making its way along Princes Street and into the Gardens.

In the last live Festival Carnival, which took place in 2019, more than 800 energetic performers donning flamboyant outfits from around the world brought the rhythm and celebrations to the city centre to mark the start of the festival season.