Hidden Door 2021: The Music Programme

Pictish Trail, The Orielles and Ibibio Sound Machine are just a few of the acts confirmed for Hidden Door, which this year takes over the old Granton Gasworks

Article by Jamie Dunn | 30 Jun 2021

To Granton this September, as Hidden Door makes its return. For those uninitiated, this arts and music festival’s MO is to take over long-abandoned spaces around Edinburgh and transform them into a hive of culture and activity. This year’s event will breathe life into the Granton Gasworks, which were built in the Victorian era and closed in the 1940s, and will be holding its art and music festival in the shadow of the site’s epic gas holder. It should provide plenty of space for hosting a live event in the COVID era.

“We are used to working in the nooks and crannies of disused buildings, so moving to a big open site like this is really liberating!” said David Martin, Hidden Door's creative director. “We are designing the event so that there will be enough space for everyone to be safe and to be able to accommodate social distancing if we still need to work with those restrictions, but the epic nature of the site, with the incredible gas tower landmark looming over us, means we will be able to create a spectacle and an atmosphere, and bring about the wow-factor that our audience expects from a Hidden Door venue.”

Today, the first list of acts performing this year’s Hidden Door festival has been announced and it’s the usual wild mix of genres and styles. Scottish singer-songwriter Pictish Trail will help kick off the festival on 15 September and headlines a smashing opening night that also features Glasgow-based alt-pop performer MALKA and Edinburgh songwriter Hamish Hawk.

The first night will also include a rejigged version of The Call by Esther Swift. Specially commissioned for the Hidden Door Live project and originally performed at Seafield beach back in March, it was written in response of the restrictions in live music due to lockdown and uses a curious combination of specially-made flags to conduct an eclectic orchestra featuring everything from violins to bagpipes to cellos to saxophones to an alphorn.

The following night will feature the jangly sounds of Manchester-based surf-pop trio The Orielles, with support coming in the form of Edinburgh post-punk upstarts Bikini Body, dream pop quartet Swim School and Glasgow alt-rock/electronic three-piece Cloth.

Hidden Door promise a night of dancing on Friday. London-based eight-piece afro-funk outfit Ibibio Sound Machine take to the stage, and willl see frontwoman Eno Williams lead the mega-band’s mash-up of African and electronic elements, which is inspired by everything from West-African funk and disco to modern post-punk and electro. Friday also sees a new collaboration between local electronic duo Maranta and artist Chell Young.

The future-retro pop sounds of Hannah Diamond will be lighting up Granton on Saturday alongside a performance from electronic outfit Future Get Down and a live set from DJ EASYFUN. There’s something special planned on that night too from electronic alt-pop duo Post Coal Prom Queen.

Hidden Door tell us to expect a cinematic, atmospheric closing night. Techno-electro maestro Rival Consoles closes the festival with an electronic live set, and has some tip-top support from a trio of local faves: electronic pop duo Super Inuit, extreme shoegazeers Wozniak and electronic producer Tupper Werewolf (aka Gordon Barr). We’re also told there’ll be a reprise of artist Florence Richardson and musician Daniel Garcia’s previous Hidden Door Live performance Spectral Pathways and plenty of more surprises.

“We can’t wait to get on site and start turning it into a creative and joyful showcase of Scotland’s emerging talent," says Martin. "Early career artists and performers have been so badly affected by the pandemic, so they are front and centre for this event, and we are looking forward to showing how much talent there is to celebrate.”

Hidden Door 2021 runs 15–19 Sep at Granton Gasworks
Tickets are available via hiddendoorblog.org/tickets or from CitizenTicket