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Light on the Shore: new music strand at Edinburgh International Festival

Mogwai are among the bands appearing at Light on the Shore. Pic credit: Brian Sweeney –

For the first time in 30 years, Edinburgh International Festival is putting on shows at Leith Theatre.

Called Light on the Shore, this special season aims to celebrate the remarkable variety and collaborative nature of Scottish popular music.

At present, we don’t have exact dates for the gigs but we understand that the season is timed to coincide with National Museum of Scotland’s summer exhibition: Rip It Up – The Story of Scottish Pop.

Light on the Shore is a unique season of concerts and events drawing together bands, orchestral ensembles, curators and festival organisers at the Leith Theatre.

Closed to the public since 1988, the theatre is re-emerging as a vital contemporary venue for Edinburgh thanks to the perseverance of local organisations such as the Leith Theatre Trust and the Hidden Door festival.


The season comprises three strands – bands and solo artists in concert; orchestral ensembles re-imagining ground-breaking Scottish albums, and Scottish curators creating unique festival experiences.

Bands and solo artists appearing in concert include Mogwai, King Creosote, Django Django and Karine Polwart with her Scottish Songbook.

Among the artists and orchestral ensembles performing are Anna Meredith and the Southbank Sinfonia. Together they are reworking Varmints which won the Scottish Album of the Year Award.

The S t a r g a z e Ensemble, conducted by André de Ridder, will perform High Scores, the first EP from Scottish electronic heroes Boards of Canada.

Martyn Bennett’s Grit

Last but by no means least, The Grit Orchestra will perform Bothy Culture and Beyond, a reworking of the landmark album by Scots artist Martyn Bennett.

Light on the Shore will also feature bespoke events and experiences from some of the country’s most collaborative innovators, curators and festival organisers.

Kevin Williamson and Michael Pedersen of Neu! Reekie! will curate an evening of performances featuring Scottish indie legends The Pastels and The Vaselines.

Electronic-folk pioneers Lau will bring together a special presentation of Lau-land, in which they will be joined by a host of friends and collaborators including American singer-songwriter Joan As Police Woman.

Glasgow’s Celtic Connections will assemble an eclectic collection of artists in a bill that ranges from Quebequois quartet Le Vent du Nord to the exquisite vocal talents of Julie Fowlis.

Tickets will be available here from Sat 24th March.

And should you be in Edinburgh for any of the gigs, you may wish to book in for one of our new walking tours of Edinburgh’s music scene.

Joan as Police Woman

Joan as Police Woman will be appearing as part of LauLand at Light on the Shore.