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Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

Musician playing piano Every summer, our capital city comes alive with the sound of jazz and blues music. The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival has been running since 1978 and is now one of the UK’s leading jazz festivals. There are more than 170 gigs and concerts taking place in various venues across Edinburgh. So, why not book a stay at the centrally located Parliament House Hotel and enjoy one of the city’s most vibrant festivals?

History of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

Crowds at a festivalThis Edinburgh music festival originally started as a traditional jazz event with several free sessions across the city’s pubs. Founded by Mike Hart, a guitarist, banjo-player and jazz enthusiast, the festival has significantly grown over the last three decades. Then, in the 1980s, the festival introduced several ticketed events in venues and added swing and mainstream jazz music. From here, it grew in both size and talent. It created the Princes Street parade and hosted free events in the Grassmarket and Princes Street Gardens. The festival was then sponsored by breweries so it could host international musicians and artists. In the mid-1990s, the event had established itself on the jazz scene. It focused on ticketed events and reduced the free pub sessions. All genres of jazz music had a stage to play on and the Edinburgh Jazz Festival Orchestra was established. Today, the event supports both Scottish and international jazz musicians and singers and encourages a link between them. Originally created to honour traditional jazz, the festival is now a celebration of musical excellence and attracts music lovers from all over the world.

City venues, from pubs to theatres

Close up of musician playing saxophoneWhen the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival first began, it was the city’s pubs that hosted the talented musicians. The free sessions grew in popularity and it wasn’t long before larger venues were required to accommodate fans. So, over the years, it introduced new ticketed events at venues including jazz clubs and concert halls. Today, many well-known venues across Edinburgh host jazz performances and concerts throughout the summer. These include Festival Theatre, Rose Theatre, The Jazz Bar, and Spiegeltent on George Square. There are still plenty of free jazz performances to enjoy.  Mardi Gras Edinburgh is usually at the Grassmarket in the Old Town, and Edinburgh Festival Carnival takes place at Princes Street Gardens. For central Edinburgh Festival accommodation, check out our special offers at Parliament House.

Artists from near and far

Over the years, live jazz in Edinburgh has attracted music enthusiasts, artists and musicians from all over the globe. The festival’s reputation has spread and its stages have been graced by superstars. Regular artists have included Buddy Tate, Warren Vache and The Black Eagles Jazz Band. At past festivals, Edinburgh’s venues have hosted the likes of Clare Teal, Curtis Stigers and Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.

 

Whether you love your big band, swing, Mississippi blues or boogie-woogie, there’s something to suit everyone at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival. So, book a room at Parliament House, where you’re just a short stroll from the summer jazz festivities.

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