We’ve now uploaded our photos from the 2023 Edinburgh International Harp Festival onto the Gallery page of this website. We’d like to say a huge thank you to our photographer John Davidson for taking such great pictures, and providing a record of the festival for many years to come. We hope you enjoy looking at them.
THANK YOU to everyone who took part in the 42nd Edinburgh International Harp Festival…. performers, tutors, participants, audience members, harp exhibitors, ceilidh dancers and session players… what a wonderful celebration of all things HARP!
Keep an eye on the gallery page of this website as we be uploading photos from the festival over the next week.
NEXT YEARS DATES: 5 – 9 April 2024*
The 43rd Edinburgh International Harp Festival will take place over 5 nights and 4 days at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh.
*dates subject to change
A huge thanks to the Trad Music Forum and the Directory of Musicians for making their playlist this month a celebration of all things Harp, full of great harp music, ready to get you in the mood for our festival, starting this Friday.
With ten fantastic tracks from ten of Scotland’s leading harp players, you can listen via Spotify HERE.
We are pleased to announce the following arrangements below for food and drink at the EIHF 2023.
We know it’s important to keep you fuelled during the festival and we appreciate Easter is a busy time in local restaurants so we are very happy to tell you that this year we have evening meals available.
**To help our caterers plan effectively, please book your evening meal in advance.**
Eating together is a wonderful way to socialise with friends (both old and new), tutors and performers at the EIHF so we do hope you’ll join us!
Open Sat – Tue 8.30am – 3.00pm
- Breakfast items including bacon rolls & croissants
- Lunch options including soup, sandwiches, baguettes, panini, baked potatoes and pies,
- Coffee, tea and snacks.
Available Fri – Tue, 5.00pm-7.00pm
An opportunity to wind down, catch-up and refuel with harping friends after a busy day of learning and enjoyment. Please explore the menus we have on offer each day below. Each day has a vegetarian and meat option.
**Booking essential to guarantee availability.**
Evening Meal Pass (5 evenings) £50 BOOK HERE
Friday Evening Meal £10 BOOK HERE
- Creamy Macaroni Cheese OR Pork Meatballs with Pasta & Tomato & Basil Sauce
Saturday Evening Meal £10 BOOK HERE
- Pasta Napoletana served with Garlic Bread OR Beef Bolognaise served with Garlic Bread
Sunday Evening Meal £10 BOOK HERE
- Tarka Dhal served with Brown Rice OR Breaded Haddock & Potato Wedges served with Peas
Monday Evening Meal £10 BOOK HERE
- Vegetarian Nachos, Salsa & Sour Cream OR Spanish Chicken & Pepperoni Savoury Rice
Tuesday Evening Meal £10 BOOK HERE
- Creamy Pesto Pasta served with Garlic Bread OR Beef Lasagne
The festival bar in the Gathering Space is open from 5pm – midnight. It will close during concert performances but will open for interval drinks.
Cash and card are accepted.
Wire Harp // Yoga // Scots Gaelic
Fancy trying something new at this year’s harp festival? Perhaps something that isn’t your usual harp?
Well why not check out one of our Come and Try sessions? We’ve 3 different things for you to try for 2023, and several chances for each of them. Click on the times to be taken to the booking page.
Come and Try: Wire Harp with Bill Taylor
Come and Try: Yoga with Clara Hyder
Come and Try: Learn a Little Gaelic with Màiri Macleod
‘Hello! My name is Neil Wood, I’m a Scottish traditional harper from a wee village aptly named Neilston, just outside Glasgow.
I began playing the harp at the age of 7 and have attended the festival pretty much every year since then. Lots of my harping firsts have been at the festival: I had my first taste of teaching as a teenager while helping in a children’s beginner class, ordered my first harp at the makers exhibition, played one of my first ever public performances on the open stage, met most of those who have taught me over the years for the first at the festival and most of all have had some of my most inspiring and exciting moments of harpiness at EIHF!
I first became officially involved with the festival on a work placement through the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where I studied a BMus Traditional Music (Scottish Harp). I then volunteered at the festival every year after that.
After I graduated I became a full-time harper. I perform on both gut and wire-strung and do lots of research and education work. I’m the founder of The Folks’ Music Project CIC, a Social Enterprise which delivers low and no cost traditional tuition and activities for people of all ages in community across Greater Glasgow – we have several community harp programmes! I’m also currently back at RCS studying towards a PhD exploring incorporation of fingernail techniques into contemporary Scottish harp playing.
Last year I had the pleasure of teaching my first ever course at the festival which explored at ornamentation – both in-person and online! Between teaching, I spent last festival running around helping the wonderful organising committee team and I must have been of some use because I was then asked if I would join the committee! This year I have been learning the ropes in the shadows of the all-star, organisational powerhouse that is the EIHF committee and there is A LOT to learn. I had no idea of the year’s worth of planning that goes into a festival that happens over a long weekend.
I have taken on the role of outreach coordinator for the festival – something which I am deeply passionate about. This year’s focus is on young people and trying to improve the general visibility and accessibility of the festival. Moving forward I hope to work towards encouraging and enabling people from people different socioeconomic backgrounds to engage with the harp in Scotland through EIHF and I hope to act as a role model for young male harpers to take-up and continue with the instrument.
I’m super excited to be both performing and teaching at this year’s festival, sharing my research work. Hope to see you there!’
We have 35 courses for you to choose from this year… and it can be rather overwhelming to choose which to book. Here’s some advice from EIHF Artistic Adviser Isobel Mieras on making that choice…
“From our wide choice of topics, teachers and levels, I hope every single one of you can find something to your taste.
Whether you want to add new tunes to your repertoire, improve your basic technique, learn to harmonise melodies, dip into music from a different tradition or sing to your own accompaniment, please take care to choose not just the topic, but the correct level to suit your ability.
On page 21 of the brochure you will find helpful explanations of what we mean by each level. Brave souls among you may feel an irresistible urge to stretch or challenge yourselves well beyond your comfort zone, or you might choose a course which will move at a faster (or even slower) pace than your comfort zone just because you have the opportunity to work with a specific teacher. That’s okay, but in such a case please do be patient and understand that the teacher and other students will work at the appropriate pace for the specified level.
Do you want to learn by ear, from written music or a combination of both? We aim to please, but do check out the teaching method before booking. The code, using E and M, is clearly indicated beside each course and the key is on Page 21.
If you have checked all this out and still want advice or have a query, call me on +44(0)131 445 2022.
Have a great Festival!”