Five-day Hidden Door festival to return in ‘mystery location’ in Edinburgh this year

Edinburgh's Hidden Door festival is to make a comeback in September - in a mystery outdoor location.

Live music, theatre, dance, spoken word and visual art are all expected to be part of the rebooted event, which has transformed unused and “forgotten” spaces across the city for cultural celebrations in recent years.

The festival, which largely focuses on new and emerging Scottish artists and performers, is being planned to ensure it can still go ahead if social distancing restrictions are still being enforced in Scotland in mid-September, when the rebooted event is due to be held.

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The first tickets for this year’s event, which has moved its dates from late May and early June, are on sale from 12 noon today, even though the location is being kept firmly under wraps by organisers.

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The event, which is created by a volunteer-run charity, is expected to feature specially-commissioned collaborations between Scottish musicians and artists, as well as “visually stunning multimedia shows and immersive experiences.”

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Hidden Door was staged for the first time in 2014 when historic vaults on Market Street were used before they were redeveloped.

A courtyard gap site on Kings’ Stables Road was transformed for the event in 2015 and 2016 before relocated to the historic Leith Theatre building for the next three years. The building has not been in use for nearly 30 years, but went on to be stage shows at the Edinburgh International Festival again.

Hidden Door also won a best cultural event honour at VisitScotland’s annual Thistle Awards.

Man of Moon performing at the Hidden Door festival in 2019. Picture: Kat Dlugosz
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Hidden Door is the latest of Edinburgh’s festivals to announce plans to return over the next few months. Last week it emerge that live events were expected to be staged at both the EIF and the Fringe, while the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival announced that it would be returning in May and June with outdoor events.

An official announcement about the return of Hidden Door, which is due to run from 15-19 September, said: “Over the five days, Hidden Door will stage a series of specially commissioned collaborations with Scottish musicians and artists, creating visually stunning multimedia shows and immersive experiences.

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"The location of the festival remains a secret for now, but organisers have spent the past year exploring potential sites for staging a safe, physically distanced outdoor event.

“We’re working with the council and other organisations to ensure the event will be safe and compliant with any Covid restrictions in place at the time.

Electronica outfit Maranta are among the acts to have appeared at Hidden Door in recent years. Picture: Sheila Masson

"Once the full programme is announced, ticket holders will be able to select which days they’d like to attend.”

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David Martin, the festival’s creative director, said: “This event is going to be a great opportunity to get back together with friends and celebrate the return of live events and the amazing creativity that is still very much alive in this city, if hidden for the last year.

“We are going to create something special in a large outdoor space that will have enough room to spread out and feel free, yet at the same time give everyone something to share together.

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“While there has been lots of arts happening online, we are crying out to share experiences together and create new memories.

"We will throw 18-months worth of pent up creative energy at this and create something truly memorable for the city.”

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