• Brought to you by The CLARSACH SOCIETY

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  • UPDATE: Online & In-person Box Office

    Attending Courses
    – A list of course locations will be available in the festival foyer. 
    – Online sales for courses will finish at 10am on Friday 7th April, but it will still be possible to sign up to a course at the in-person box office in the Festival Foyer.

    Attending Zoom Courses
    – Zoom course sales have now closed.
    – Zoom course packs (with links and music) will be emailed to you on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th April. If you have not received this by Friday evening, please email office@harpfestival.co.uk and we will assist you.

    Attending Workshops
    – A list of workshop locations will be available in the festival foyer. 
    – Please have the booking confirmation (emailed to you at purchase) or wallet QR code ready. If you cannot find this, do not worry, we will be able to find your booking on our system.
    – Workshops will remain available to purchase at both online & in-person box office in the Festival Foyer.

    Attending Concerts
    – All concerts take place in the Assembly Hall of George Watson’s College, entrance from the Festival Foyer.
    – Please have the booking confirmation (emailed to you at purchase) or wallet QR code ready. If you cannot find this, do not worry, we will be able to find your booking on our system.
    – Concerts will remain available to purchase at both online & in-person box office in the Festival Foyer.

    Food & Drink at EIHF 2023

    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
    • Traybake
    • Tea/Coffee

    Saturday Evening Meal £10 BOOK HERE

    • Pasta Napoletana served with Garlic Bread OR Beef Bolognaise served with Garlic Bread
    • Traybake
    • Tea/Coffee

    Sunday Evening Meal £10 BOOK HERE

    • Tarka Dhal served with Brown Rice OR Breaded Haddock & Potato Wedges served with Peas
    • Traybake
    • Tea/Coffee

    Monday Evening Meal £10 BOOK HERE

    • Vegetarian Nachos, Salsa & Sour Cream OR Spanish Chicken & Pepperoni Savoury Rice
    • Traybake
    • Tea/Coffee

    Tuesday Evening Meal £10 BOOK HERE

    • Creamy Pesto Pasta served with Garlic Bread OR Beef Lasagne
    • Traybake
    • Tea/Coffee


    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.

    Come & Try – fancy trying something new?

    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

    Saturday 8th April, 9.00-10.00am

    Sunday 9th April, 9.00-10.00am

    Come and Try: Yoga with Clara Hyder

    Monday 10th April, 1.00-2.30pm

    Tuesday 11 April, 9.00-10.00am

    Come and Try: Learn a Little Gaelic with Màiri Macleod

    Saturday 8th April, 4.30 – 5.15pm

    Monday 10th April, 10.00am-10.45am

    Tuesday 11th April, 9.00-9.45am

    2023 Concert Pass

    The 2023 concert pass is THE BEST VALUE way of enjoying all 8 concerts we have this year at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival.

    For just £115 (full price), £100 (conc), £60 (under18s) you can enjoy:

    7.30 – 10.00pm

    KIM ROBERTSON – Celebration of Scots-Irish American Heritage

    AILIE ROBERTSON – Crossing Traditional Borders from Scotland to Quebec

    3.00 – 4.00pm

    EVA CURTH – The Fabulous World of Bernard Andrès


    7.30 – 10.00pm

    MICHAEL ROONEY – Musical Memories from Ireland


    3.00 – 4.00pm

    NEIL WOOD – Traditional Scottish gut and wire clarsach

    GWEN MAIRI – Blending her Welsh and Scottish Roots

    7.30 – 10.00pm

    RACHEL HAIR & RUTH KEGGIN – Music and Song from the Isle of Man

    GILLIAN FLEETWOOD & ENSEMBLE – The Hospitalfield Suite

    3.00 – 4.00pm


    3.00 – 4.00pm


    7.30 – 10.00pm

    LUNE BLEUE – Jazz Influenced Breton Music

    HEAL AND HARROW: RACHEL NEWTON & LAUREN MACCOLL – Musical Tales in Remembrance of Scottish Witch Trials


    YOUTH OUTREACH: FREE workshop & concert for High School Harpers

    We are SUPER excited to announce a new addition to the EIHF events, thanks to the support of the Tasgadh Small Grants for Traditional Arts Fund. We know that the Easter holidays is a busy time for teens (with exam revision taking precedence for many) but this year we have managed to organise a workshop with renowned Irish harper Michael Rooney. With support for travel available AND the chance to bring an adult for free to his concert that evening we hope many will take this chance to experience the festival, learn some new skills with Michael, enjoy a concert and explore the likes of the Harp Exhibition.

    Saturday 8th April 4.30pm-5.30pm

    This workshop IS FREE to attend and open to students of High School age (approx 11-18yrs olds).

    As part of the Edinburgh International Harp Festival Outreach Scheme, harpers of any style age 11-18 of an intermediate/advanced level are invited to take part in a workshop with internationally renowned Irish harper and educator, Michael Rooney.

    In this workshop, Michael will share some traditional Irish tunes and provide a brief overview of Irish style ornamentation and accompaniment.

    Michael is performing alongside the duo Dråm at a 7.30pm on Saturday 8th April, and workshop participants who attend the workshop will receive a FREE under 18 ticket for his concert and can take an accompanying adult along FOR FREE.


    Saturday 8 April, 4.30pm-5.30pm


    George Watson’s College, 67-71 Colinton Road, Edinburgh.

    How much?

    The workshop is FREE, but places are limited.
    A small grant to subsidise travel for participants and a guardian is available by request in a first come, first served basis (see contact details below).

    How do I book?

    To book a place for a high school aged students, please email the EIHF office: office@harpfestival.co.uk by Saturday 1 April. Should you require further information, call or email the EIHF office: 0131 554 0212.

    Many thanks to the Tasgadh Small Grants for Traditional Arts fund (devolved from Creative Scotland, managed by Fèisean nan Gàidheal) for supporting this workshop. 

    BLOG: Meet the newest member of the EIHF team…

    ‘Hello! My name is Neil Wood, I’m a Scottish traditional harper from a wee village aptly named Neilston, just outside Glasgow.

    Neil playing in the wild at Marchmont Estate

    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.

    Tuning harps for children’s concert at EIHF19/Teaching at EIHF22/Sessioning at EIHF22

    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!’

    YOUTH OUTREACH: FREE Children’s Easter Holiday Clarsach Course

    As part of the Edinburgh International Harp Festival Outreach Scheme, young players are invited to attend a 4-day course culminating with a FREE performance on Friday the 7th April, the opening day of the 42nd EIHF.
    The course will be by Isobel Mieras and Elinor Evans, both much-respected for their work in teaching, arranging and composing music for young clarsach players.

    The music, on the theme of Our Beautiful Planet, will be suitable for all levels; including simple melodies, musical patterns and improvisation as well as fun and some surprises!  The ability to read music is useful, but not essential.

    Course participants who attend this course can choose 1 concert to attend at the EIHF and attend it along with an accompanying adult FOR FREE.


    COURSE: Tuesday 4 April – Friday 7 April, 10.00am -12 noon, each day.

    CONCERT: Friday 7 April, 2.00pm – 3.00pm.


    The Music School, George Watson’s College, 67-71 Colinton Road, Edinburgh.

    How much?

    The course is FREE, but places are limited. 

    How do I book?

    To book a place for a young player, please email the EIHF office: office@clarsachsociety.co.uk by Saturday 4 March. Should you require further information, call or email the EIHF office: 0131 554 0212.

    Many thanks to the Royal Celtic Society for supporting this event

    Box Office payment issues

    Monday 6th Feb: Some customers are experiencing payment failures within our online box office. It appears to be those who are making large purchases. 

    We are so sorry about this and are trying to sort it with the payment company. 


    – The system seems to be work for accepting smaller payments (up to £115), so you may attempt to book your courses separately. 

    – If you are worried your chosen course will sell out and are experiencing payment problems email our wonderful office team: office@harpfestival.co.uk and they will arrange an alternative payment method. 

    Please again accept our apologies about this situation. 

    Choosing a course: Isobel’s advice!

    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.

    Fraya Thomsen teaching her ‘Funky Scottish’ course at the 41st Edinburgh International Harp Festival. © Chantal Guevara 2022. All rights reserved.

    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!”
    Isobel Mieras