New outdoor music festival to be staged in Edinburgh

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A major new outdoor music festival is to be staged in Edinburgh this summer to coincide with the launch of an exhibition charting the history of Scottish pop and rock.

The Rezillos, Big Country, The Skids and Idlewild are among the acts who will be performing in the grounds of the city’s former vet school in June.

The Rezillos are among the bands lined up to perform during the festival. Picture: TSPL

The Rezillos are among the bands lined up to perform during the festival. Picture: TSPL

All of them will also be featuring in the National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition, Rip it Up, which will chart the evolution of the nation’s musical culture from the 1950s to the present day.

The Summerhall arts centre, which opened on the site of Edinburgh University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies seven years ago, will be staging ten days of events in its courtyard.

A host of leading contemporary acts, including Be Charlotte, Emma Pollock, Stanley Odd, Modern Studies, Paws, Man of Moon and Withered Hand will also be appearing at the festival, which will open the weekend before the exhibition is officially unveiled.

Summerhall chiefs say Southern Exposure, which runs from 15-24 June, will be the most ambitious programme that has been put together at the venue outwith the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The full programme includes a screening of the classic concert film Monterey Pop, which is also part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, an outdoor ceilidh and a marathon 12-and-a-half-hour line-up on the Saturday after the exhibition opens.

Shirley Manson, The Bay City Rollers, Simple Minds and Midge Ure are among the artists who have donated objects for the exhibition.

As well as a host of live performances, talks and debates at the museum, other concerts are expected to take place across Edinburgh to coincide with the staging of the exhibition. It has already emerged that a series of Scottish music nights will be staged by the Edinburgh International Festival at the old Leith Theatre in August.

The museum is joining forces with BBC Scotland to stage the exhibition, which will be accompanied by a three-part TV series and a four-part radio series. Lonnie Donegan, Gerry Rafferty, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Lulu are among the other acts who are expected to be featured.

Stephen Allen, curator of the Rip It Up exhibition, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with Summerhall on this fantastic programme.

“It’s very fitting that there will be such a strong programme of live music on the week that our exhibition opens. It has a host of great artists who we’re also featuring, like Idlewild, The Skids, Big Country and The Rezillos.

“The exhibition and everything we’re doing around it will bring the story of Scottish pop right up to the present day, so it’s great so see so many current and emerging talents on the bill on the Saturday.”

Summerhall’s new music festival has been announced three years after it launched a new series of gigs under the banner of “Nothing Ever Happens Here” in response to 
criticism over the closure of long-running venues across the city and a shortage of high-quality gigs.

Sam Gough, general manager at Summerhall, added: “We are so excited to be unveiling Southern Exposure. This ten-day outdoor festival really showcases what we do best.”