'Deaf rave' clubbing event to be staged in underground car park during Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Scotland's first “deaf rave” clubbing event is to be staged in an underground car park in Edinburgh during this year's Fringe.

Friday, 20th May 2022, 4:55 am

The new St James Quarter in the city's east end will be playing host to a one-off event specifically created for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Leading deaf DJs from around the UK are expected to appear at the five-hour event on August 19, which will also feature signing singers and rappers and deaf dance acts.

The event, which will be staged from 5pm-10pm to make it as accessible as possible, is a collaboration between London-based deaf promoter and DJ Troi Lee, aka DJ Chinaman, who has been staging events under the “Deaf Rave” banner for the past 19 years, and Edinburgh-based charity Deaf Action.

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Deaf Rave founder Troi Lee aka DJ Chinaman.

The line-up for the Fringe event will feature MC Geezer, DJ Ceri Karma, dancers Jia McKenzie, Billy Reid and Ariel Fung, as well as DJ Chinaman.

The clubbing event will be part of the inaugural Edinburgh Deaf Festival, a week-long “celebration of deaf culture, language and heritage” in August, as well as a centrepiece of the St James Quarter summer festivals line-up.

Lee, who will also be staging a workshop in deaf DJ-ing in Edinburgh, said: "I started organising events in London because there wasn’t really anywhere for deaf people to meet up and get together.

“There seemed to be a real gap for something and I’ve never looked back since then.

Deaf Rave founder Troi Lee aka DJ Chinaman.

“One of the main aims was to promote deaf talent and DJs because they weren’t getting the chance to perform as much and didn’t really have a platform.

“I wanted to create events to enable them to perform and showcase their talents, but also to inspire.

“The format of the events are really about elevating deaf culture and deaf awareness in music.

“We had to cancel a lot of events in 2020 due to Covid and I was really worried about Deaf Rave’s future, but we got some funding to produce the world’s first online festival for deaf people.

Scotland's first 'deaf rave' event will be held at the St James Quarter in Edinburgh during this year's Fringe.

“We’ve got an amazing, unique location in Edinburgh and the Fringe is an event which brings in people from all over the world.

“I hope there will be a big turn-out of the deaf community in Scotland, but we want to make it as accessible as possible, so it really is open to everyone.”

The Edinburgh Deaf Festival, which will run from August 12-19, will include appearances from deaf performers and artists, tours, exhibitions and workshops.

It is being organised by Deaf Action, which dates back more than 180 years and is the longest-running deaf organisation in the world.

It was unveiled last year as one of the first official charity partners of the St James Quarter, which encompasses shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and a cinema.

Deaf action fundraising manager Stacy Rowan said: “We’re incredibly excited to bring Deaf Rave to Scotland as part of the inaugural Edinburgh Deaf Festival.

“We want this event to unite everyone through a love of music and culture. The event is accessible to everyone, so bring your dancing shoes.”

St James Quarter managing director Nick Peel said: “It’s an absolute honour to bring Scotland’s first deaf rave here this August.

“We’re passionate about providing world-class events that are accessible to all.”