Edinburgh's Hidden Door Festival 2018 - Leith Theatre

Edinburgh's Hidden Door Festival 2018

7 Mins

Edinburgh’s Hidden Door Festival 2018 packs 10 days of music, art, theatre, film and partying into the city’s disused buildings – and this year it’s taking on two Leith spaces across the road from one another. Here, David Pollock picks out five reasons to go to this unique festival.

1. Gwenno

A member of feminist vocal trio the Pipettes, Gwenno Saunders has gathered large amounts of acclaim for her two solo albums - 2015’s Y Dydd Olaf, which was sung entirely in her native Welsh and Cornish, and this year’s gorgeous, dream-like Le Kov (‘A Place of Memory’), an all-Cornish record.

Hidden Door Festival - Gwenno

“Now I have a son and I speak Cornish with him,” Saunders told The Quietus. “It’s a tool, isn’t it? And if you’ve got a couple of tools you may as well use them all.” Friday 25 May.

“It’s inspiring to see such a range of new talent in Scotland dedicated to creating a mesmerising and unforgettable experience for our audiences” David Martin - Hidden Door Festival

2. Nadine Shah

Raw and expressive, Nadine Shah is a singer and songwriter from the North of England whose affecting and tuneful indie-pop tracks belie the depth of personal engagement going on below the surface.

Nadine Shah

Over her three albums – last year’s Holiday Destination was the most recent – she explores topics including mental health, suicide, feminism and the relationship of the West to more oppressive countries. Alongside Gwenno, Honeyblood and Dream Wife, she tops an all-female opening line-up curated by The List on Friday 25 May.

3. Distant Voices: Not Known at This Address

A special recording project created by Vox Liminis, Distant Voices: Not Known at This Address is an album which pairs songwriters with people who have had experience of the Scottish criminal justice system, from prisoners to prison staff and researchers to social workers.

Emma Pollock

This evening of music will feature solo sets from contributors Emma Pollock (pictured), C Duncan and Admiral Fallow (playing as a trio), before all come together to perform the album. Tuesday 29 May.

4. Daniel Avery

Daniel Avery is one of the most exciting techno producers working in the world right now, not just because his DJ sets are essential, but because of his ability to craft a crunching and essential dancefloor track which is filled with melody and its own distinctive spirit.

It’s why his artist albums Drone Logic and the recent Song for Alpha have been such successes, and his late night appearance on Saturday 26 May will create an intense party atmosphere to close the penultimate day. 

5. Young Fathers

No party which aspires to be definitive of Leith could be complete without an appearance by Young Fathers, the group who recorded the work which made them famous a stone’s throw away.

Winners of the 2014 Mercury Prize for their debut album Dead and the previous year’s Scottish Album of the Year award for the extended EP Tape Two, their current album Cocoa Sugar is their most exciting, confident and confrontational yet.

Young Fathers

“Hidden Door brings a large cross section of the creative scene together,” said Hidden Door’s creative director David Martin, “and it’s inspiring to see such a range of new talent in Scotland dedicated to creating a mesmerising and unforgettable experience for our audiences.”

Hidden Door Festival 2018 is at Leith Theatre and the Old State Cinema, Edinburgh, from 25 May to 03 June. hiddendoorblog.org

Hidden Door Festival / Young Fathers / Nadine Shah

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