Orcadian music student to represent Edinburgh at Princes Street Gardens fundraiser in New York

A music student has won the chance to perform alongside actor Alan Cumming and singer KT Tunstall at the launch of a global fundraising drive for a new concert arena in Edinburgh.

Alannah Moar will be performing on the same bill as Alan Cumming and KT Tunstall at The Quaich Project's exclusive fundraising campaign launch in New York later this month.
Alannah Moar will be performing on the same bill as Alan Cumming and KT Tunstall at The Quaich Project's exclusive fundraising campaign launch in New York later this month.

Alannah Moar, 21, who is studying at Edinburgh Napier University, will be representing the city at the exclusive cabaret event in the Lincoln Center later this month.

Moar, who is originally from Orkney, won a public vote instigated by The Quaich Project, which is pursuing the plans for the £25 million development in West Princes Street Gardens.

She had been shortlisted along with five other up-and-coming singers and musicians based in Edinburgh, securing 39 per cent of the votes cast in the online poll, which attracted almost 6000 votes on The Quaich Project's website.

Cumming and KT Tunstall will be joined on the bill by Broadway actress Alexandra Silber at the "celebration of Scottish culture."

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Moar, who performs folk, rock, pop and blues songs, cites Fleetwood Mac, Nina Nesbitt, Ed Sheeran and Pink among her main influences, as well as Orcadian outfits Saltfishforty, and Hullion.

Moar said: "It’s such an honour to win the Emerging Artists competition, especially with such a strong field of fellow musicians. I’m over the moon and can’t wait to share a stage with Alan, KT and the other amazing people at the event.

“Thank you to everyone who voted for me and to The Quaich Project for giving me this opportunity."

The New York event is being staged by The Quaich Project, the public-private venture set up by the the city council and a charitable trust set up by a hotel developer offering to partly bankroll the revamp.

Director of development Jules Haston said: "Response to the competition has been great to see.

"Thousands of people have engaged with the competition and showed their support to the outstanding emerging musical talent Edinburgh has to offer.

“Alannah is a brilliant example of the world class talent we have here in Scotland. We can’t wait to take her to New York share her talent with the world.”

The Quaich Project is expected to see a significant increase in the number of events staged in the historic gardens throughout the year as it will be easier to erect and dismantle stages next to the railway lines beneath Edinburgh Castle.

Cumming has been a supporter of the gardens project for more than two years after agreeing to endorse plans by a consortium led by American architects Why, which won an international design competition instigated by Norman Springford, founder of the Apex Hotels group.

Edinburgh-born Game of Thrones star Iain Glen launched at least three years of planned fundraising for the radical overhaul of West Princes Street Gardens earlier this year, when the new identity for the project was unveiled.

The Quaich Project is named after Scotland’s traditional cup of friendship and is said to have been inspired by the bowl-shaped topography of the gardens, which host the fireworks finale of the Edinburgh International Festival and the centrepiece concert of the city’s Hogmanay celebrations.

Built in 1935, to replace a bandstand erected in 1877, the current structure was branded “no longer fit for purpose” by the council three years ago.

The new venue is not likely to open until 2023, four years later than originally anticipated by Mr Springford, who revealed his plans in 2015.

Fundraising is expected to continue until the end of 2022, with work on the arena not expected to start until the project is fully funded. However some infrastructure improvements could be carried out well before then.