Edinburgh Festivals 2019: Music Highlights

Our picks of the live music across the Edinburgh Fringe, Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Book Festival

Preview by Music Team | 31 Jul 2019
  • Kathryn Joseph performing From When I Wake directed by Josh Armstrong for Cryptic. Image by Louise Mather 2

Free Love @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, 2 Aug
We can’t think of a better way to start August than with this absolute – excuse us for going wildly Scottish here – stoater of a gig. Free Love are one of the most exciting live acts to have come out of Scotland in recent years, and it will never not be utterly thrilling to see Suzi Rodden catapulting herself offstage to get up in a crowd. What’s more, the show will feature the exciting angular hooks of Glasgow sextet Kaputt, and the exceptional beats and vocals of Edinburgh duo Maranta. It’s a no-brainer.

Akala @ The Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 3 Aug
Following a sold out appearance at the 2018 Edinburgh International Book Festival, BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist and activist Akala is back in Edinburgh this August for a run of shows at the Gilded Balloon as he continues to celebrate his book Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire. With various opportunities to catch Akala – In Conversation between 2-6 August, on 3 August he’s dropping his evening show for a live performance at The Liquid Room.

Florence and the Machine @ Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, 7 & 8 Aug
Florence Welch and her Machine are rolling into town this month to kick off the extensive Summer Sessions series taking over Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens from 7-18 August, which will also feature shows from CHVRCHES, Primal Scream and Lewis Capaldi. So if you’ve never seen the 2015 Glastonbury headliners in action before, now's your chance as they play two nights on the Ross Bandstand in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle; be sure to get down early for the all singing, all dancing, hugely exhilarating Self Esteem on support duty.

Neneh Cherry @ Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, 10 Aug, 7pm
Yeah, that’s right, Neneh Cherry is coming to Edinburgh to shake up Leith Theatre! As part of Edinburgh International Festival – which annually puts good use to the spectacular old venue – the Swedish singer, rapper and activist heads into town for what promises to be one hell of a fun night, with a back catalogue of over 30 years brimming with certified danceworthy jams.

Vic Galloway Brings the Ruckus @ The Spiegeltent, Charlotte Square Gardens, 13 Aug, 9pm
As part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival's Unbound series, Scottish broadcaster, journalist and musician Vic Galloway presents a night full of live music and readings. Joined by Will Ashon, author of Chamber Music: About the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces), Joseph Malik, Callum Easter and Heir of the Cursed will provide the night's backing track, while Saskia Vogel and Dean Atta will give guest readings, ensuring there’s a wide range of entertainment to indulge in.

Kathryn Joseph: From When I Wake @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, 13-15 Aug
Presented as part of Cryptic’s year-long programme celebrating 25 years of ‘ravishing the senses’, award-winning singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph is bringing the acclaimed theatrical version of her stunning sophomore record From When I Wake the Want Is to Summerhall for a short run as part of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Directed by Josh Armstrong, Joseph’s stunning songcraft and hair-raising vocals are further heightened by Czech body architect Markéta Kratochvílová, with staging from James Johnson and lighting by Nich Smith.

Sharon Van Etten @ Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, 21 Aug, 7pm
Sharon Van Etten earned praise for her shift to a more electronic feel on her latest record Remind Me Tomorrow, telling the story of her life since 2014’s Are We There. While proving her talent for conveying human life through a slightly different medium this time, one thing that remains happily unchanged is her ability to capture a room in a live setting.

Cate Le Bon @ Jupiter Artland, 24 Aug; Summerhall, 25 Aug
You've got two chances to see Cate Le Bon in Edinburgh this month; she brings her off-kilter indie to the Jupiter Rising festival at the Jupiter Artland sculpture park on 24 Aug, before a headline show back in town at Summerhall the following night.