Summer Sessions concerts to go ahead in Edinburgh this summer and return in 2022

Open-air concerts in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens are to go ahead this summer and return in 2022, organisers of the pop and rock festival have revealed.

Shows by Simple Minds, Sir Tom Jones Michael Kiwanuka, Travis, DMAs and Anne-Marie are all due to go ahead at the Ross Bandstand in August, when all of the city’s summer festivals are expected to return in some form.

Lionel Richie’s planned show this summer has had to be postponed, along with the rest of a planned European tour, but organisers DF Concerts say he will be performing at the Summer Sessions festival in 2022.

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The announcement that seven 6000-capacity shows are going ahead has been made just days after heritage group the Cockburn Association suggested major concerts should no longer be held in the gardens, which have hosted events since 1877.

The festival is one of the biggest events to confirm it is going ahead this summer since First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement earlier this month that live events could return with limited capacities from May.

Although detailed guidelines are yet to be published, the government announced last week that it was working to support the return of “major events” this summer. DF Concerts later announced the return of its TRNSMT music festival in Glasgow in September – two months later than planned.

A spokeswoman for DF Concerts said: "Following over a year without live music in Scotland, Edinburgh Summer Sessions will provide music fans with the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere in one of the most intimate outdoor festival settings in the world.

“Anne-Marie joins a plethora of talent this summer, including legendary headliner Tom Jones, as well as Mercury Prize winner and Grammy nominee Michael Kiwanuka, hometown heroes Travis and Simple Minds, plus Australian Britpop inspired band DMA’s. Lionel Richie has rescheduled his 2021 tour dates and will make his Summer Sessions debut, but will return for 2022.

The Summer Sessions concerts will continue until at least 2022, according to the announcement from DF Concerts. Picture: Ryan Johnston
The Summer Sessions concerts will continue until at least 2022, according to the announcement from DF Concerts. Picture: Ryan Johnston

“Situated within Princes Street Gardens, in the heart of Scotland’s bustling capital, the festival is the perfect destination for music fans, with the location offering plenty of food, drink and activity options to create the ultimate Summer Sessions experience.

“An outstanding mix of stars including Paloma Faith, Florence & the Machine, CHVRCHES, Primal Scream, Madness and Lewis Capaldi are all part of the Summer Sessions alumni, with the festival famed for its exciting line-ups with a showstopping atmosphere.

“Organisers are committed to following government and council guidance which may be in place at the time of the event to ensure the safety of all festivalgoers, artists and staff.”

Cockburn Association chair Cliff Hague said: “Clearly such concerts are popular and draw tourists from far and wide into Edinburgh. Our view remains that they don’t need to be staged in Princes St Gardens.“For this summer, the council needs to set and enforce conditions that ensure that screening does not block off views to the gardens and castle, that decibel limits are agreed with local organisations, that there’s no loss of public access to the gardens immediately before and after events, that there’s no damage to trees and grass and high environmental standards are respected, and that there are no VIP pop-up bars or hospitality facilities, so spend goes into supporting hard-hit local hospitality businesses rather than leaking from the local economy."

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