A TRIBUTE concert to the late Nelson Mandela will kick-start Edinburgh’s summer festivals season, organisers have confirmed.
A star-studded event at the Festival Theatre, which will also be the opening gala of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, will feature some of South Africa’s leading performers.
They include 79-year-old piano legend Abdullah Ibrahim, Cape Town-based Afro-fusion outfit Freshlyground, who were behind the official song of the 2010 football World Cup, and the Mahotella Queens, the all-women song and dance group who starred at Celtic Connections in Glasgow earlier this year.
The show on Friday 18 July will coincide with the worldwide Mandela Day celebrations, which are also expected to be marked by a major concert in Glasgow.
The jazz festival is the traditional curtain-raiser to the capital’s festivities, which continue uninterrupted until the fireworks finale in Princes Street Gardens on 31 August.
Other jazz festival headliners confirmed include veteran singer-songwriter Van Morrison and former Rolling Stone bassist Bill Wyman, who will be appearing along with former Average White Band singer Hamish Stuart.
Jools Holland, one of the festival’s most popular draws over the years, will also be returning to the event with a line-up including Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall and former Spice Girl Mel C.
Former South African president Mandela - who died last December at the age of 95 - was awarded the Freedom of Edinburgh in 1997. Some senior councillors want Festival Square, one of the city’s main public spaces, renamed after him to honour his legacy in the city.