Three-day guitar festival is the largest in Scotland

German virtuoso Peter Finger
German virtuoso Peter Finger
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A NEW guitar and musical festival is being launched in Edinburgh next year in a bid to boost the Scottish music industry.

The three-day festival running at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange from May 25 to 27 is being billed as the largest of its kind in Scotland.

The inaugural event will showcase up to 60 separate performances, with two competitions for school-aged guitarists culminating in a live final.

The Edinburgh Guitar and Music Festival is the brainchild of Ged Brockie and Adam Dzierzek – two guitarists hailing from Edinburgh’s West End.

Mr Brockie said the pair felt Scotland’s music industry had needed a focal point and believed a stand-alone festival was the answer.

He said: “We picked a Bank Holiday weekend deliberately. It just so happens that the weekend we picked is exactly what Edinburgh Council thinks is a gap in the actual events calendar.

“There is no point in us trying to take on the Edinburgh Festival, there’s only going to be one result. But in May when usually the weather’s quite nice on a Bank Holiday weekend, I’m confident that we’re going to see a massive response.”

German acoustic guitar virtuoso Peter Finger, Italian musician Daniele Bazzani, swing jazz guitarist Anth Purdy and Scotland’s jazz export Nigel Clark are already on the festival’s bill.

Educational seminars will be part of the festival, with attendees able to learn skills and tips from leading performers.

Mr Brockie said there were not enough opportunities year-round in the Capital for guitarists, adding: “When it comes to the Edinburgh Festival, the stress is so much on comedy these days that it’s almost the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. Music gets squeezed out.

“This is just the first part of our plan of actually expanding the opportunities for local and international musicians.”

Open microphone sessions and categories for bands are still to be announced for next year.

Mr Brockie hinted the festival could become a multi-
venue event in future years.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson said: “As a keen guitarist myself, I’m delighted that Edinburgh will play host to its first Guitar and Music Festival next May.

“The organisers have pulled together an incredible line-up of international artists covering everything from rock, classical, jazz and more, plus the very best in established and rising Scottish guitarists.

“Edinburgh is world-famous for its festivals and I’m sure this latest addition will bring yet another dimension to the city’s packed events calendar.”