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Stage is set for Under Canvas outdoor festival at Eden Court in Inverness

By Andrew Dixon

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Eden Court will host Under Canvas this summer.
Eden Court will host Under Canvas this summer.

Eden Court has announced the programme for the opening month of its flagship Under Canvas outdoor festival.

The popular summer festival will be back at the Inverness venue from July 1 to September 30 with a line-up featuring contemporary folk, Scottish traditional music, DJs, jazz, blues and more.

It will be co-curated with Fèis Rois and staged in a new tent – described by organisers as spectacular.

The family-friendly attraction was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, but as restrictions ease things are starting to return to normal.

Eden Court chief executive James Mackenzie-Blackman said: “I am delighted that Under Canvas is returning this summer thanks to the generous support of some key Eden Court supporters.

“We’ll be providing world-class music throughout the summer, in turn providing hundreds of employment contracts to independent musicians and our new tent, double the size of previous years, will provide a safe and welcoming environment for our audiences. We can’t wait to welcome them back.”

It is expected that the new tent – designed by Becky Minto and Kate Bonney – will start to be erected next week.

A spokeswoman for the event said: “Under Canvas began life in 2018, showcasing traditional and contemporary Scottish music. Its reputation as the go-to summer destination for locals and tourists was consolidated in its second year, when it was nominated for event of the year at the 2019 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.

“Now in its third year, the event has been redesigned to maintain the spirit of socialising and shared enthusiasm for the arts, while mitigating the risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and following recommended guidance.”

Under Canvas will stage live music sessions, performance and DJ sets, as well as having a bar serving local beers, gins and whisky and there will be an outdoor pizza oven.

The July programme can be seen here: www.eden-court.co.uk/under-canvas. The August programme will be revealed in early July. The September programme will be revealed in early August.

July's line-up includes Mairearad Green, Anna Massie, Project SMOK, Gary Innes and Ewen Henderson, FRAS, Man of the Minch, Amy Henderson Trio and Assynt.

Resident DJ Karawane spins world grooves most Saturday evenings. Sunday afternoons feature an eclectic mix of musical genres and literary offerings, from performance poetry and author panels to classical music, blues and jazz.

In addition to the monthly programmes, there are a number of specially curated events throughout the summer:

A celebration of queer voices in folk Bogha-frois (July 14-18) is curated by Pedro Cameron (aka Man of the Minch). Each day features members of Bogha-frois (Gaelic for Rainbow), a community of queer and LGBT+ folk musicians. According to orgainsers, the collective aims to encourage creativity and collaboration which reflects the queer experience.

Càirdeas (August 25-29) brings together global Gaelic communities. As part of the Colmcille 1500 commemorations, Under Canvas showcases artists and music from Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton and the Isle of Man, and the kinship that has existed between these cultures over hundreds of years.

Marking Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters is Uisge (September 12-19). Rivers, oceans, lochs and waterways have long been inspirations for Scotland’s musicians. This week-long series features compositions and performances, which promise to evoke the might and mystery of uisge.

Seona McClintock, producer for Gaelic and traditional arts at Eden Court, said: “Under Canvas is the festival we’ve all been waiting for.

"Eden Court’s front lawn will burst into life. As ever, Gaelic music and song is a key part of the programme and we’re really proud to be showcasing queer and LGBT+ voices as part of a wonderfully diverse line-up of musical talent. We’re also broadening the programme into more poetry and literary events on Sundays and we hope we’re offering everyone a reason to come along.”

Fèis Rois chief executive Fiona Dalgetty said: "After a year without gigs, it is wonderful to be able to offer paid performance opportunities to hundreds of musicians this summer. The July line-up showcases established artists as well as younger bands. Gaelic is prominent in the programming."

Visitors need to book a table in advance this year, paying a £5 reservation fee per person which they can either reclaim or donate at the end of the night with their final bill.

Tickets will be sold for sessions from 4pm-7pm or from 8pm-11pm each week from Wednesday to Saturday. Sunday sessions run 2pm-4.30pm and 5.30pm-8pm.

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