As the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival kicks off this weekend, here’s a post for all you jazz cats who may have found this blog on the lookout for swinging music rather than jazzy vintage clobber. This Saturday’s Jazz Festival Arts Market in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket should cater for both sets of interests.
The market will run from 11am – 6pm this Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July, and will host around 50 different market stalls of local crafters’ and artists’ work. There should be a great selection of unique, one-off products, including reworked textiles and furniture, clothes, jewellery, vinyl records and hand-made Scottish arts and crafts. The shopping experience will be accompanied by a swinging jazz soundtrack, with live bands playing on a number of stages across the Grassmarket on both days, between 1pm and 4pm.
On Saturday, don’t miss the Mardi Gras carnival procession, which starts off at the City Chambers on the Royal Mile at 12.30pm and makes it’s way down to the Grassmarket for around 1pm. The music will encompass a broad range of jazz genres, from old-school swing to New Orleans blues. There will be a lot of fancily dressed folk to be inspired by – or get into your groove alongside – and the Mardi Gras is one of the most colourful and vibrant ways to enjoy the jazz festival (plus it’s free, although the organisers ask for a £2 donation of support to keep it going in future years).
The Grassmarket is one of the quirkier (and all the more loveable for it) parts of Edinburgh – it underwent a huge renovation project a couple of years ago and the local traders often organise craft, antique and artisan food fairs in the cobbled pedestrianised street. It’s all very continental when the sun shines, with a great variety of restaurants, pubs and cafes, most with outside seating at the front. The Grassmarket and the nearby West Port are also home to some of the best shops in the capital, with clothing boutiques, record shops , comic stores and specialist Scottish craft shops alongside small art galleries and gig venues. If you are into supporting independent businesses, or enjoy shopping for the unusual, the area shouldn’t be missed on a trip to Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival runs from 22nd – 31st July this year and there is a great programme of concerts on throughout the week – several each day at venues as diverse as the The Jazz Bar (naturally), the beloved Spiegeltent and the Royal Overseas League. You can check out the full programme here.
So why not slip on your glad rags and get a lil’ bit old school over in Scotland’s bonnie capital, Edinburgh. Here’s Bing and Louis doing what they did best in 1956 to get you in the mood…