Huge free events to kick off Jazz & Blues Festival

Hundreds of performers are set to thrill crowds on 13 and 14 July, as Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival gets underway with two huge, open air and completely free events, the Mardi Gras and Edinburgh Festival Carnival. 

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The Mardi Gras - Saturday 13 July

The Festival's opening weekend gets going in style with the ever-popular Mardi Gras, offering four stages of great music in Edinburgh's Grassmarket area.

This year the line-up includes: Quattro MacJazz, Rianna Walcott Trio, Romacaleo, Harry Weir’s Brass Band and many more.

Four images of crowds and performers at the Mardi Gras and Festival Carnival

Carnival - Sunday 14 July

Sunday 14 July sees another afternoon of high energy fun, with the vibrant colours and infectious rhythms of the Edinburgh Festival Carnival

Dancers, acrobatic street performers and band after brilliant band will parade down Edinburgh's Mound and westward along Princes Street before turning into Princes Street Gardens for more performances. 

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For the first time, The Edinburgh Festival Carnival also presents five concerts which take place at St Bride’s Centre and Festival Theatre. Filled with dazzling spectacle and amazing circus skills, Taurin Circus (Hungary), Circo Fantazztico (Costa Rica), Enjoy (Italy) and Scotland present an extraordinary hour of circus skills - acrobats, juggling for Circus! Circus! Circus!. The World Turned Upside Down is a fast-paced international revue with live music, drama and dance from, La Paranza del Geco (Italy), MD Company (Martinique), All My Ladies (Spain), Zsolt Szedekenyi (Hungry), Soul City (Reunion Island), D'Art Holland (Netherlands) and Artscape Theatre (South Africa). Both take place at St Bride’s Centre on Friday 12 July. The following day, Edinburgh’s own Carnival students and workshop leaders showcase their newly acquired skills during "The World In One City". The final concert at St Bride’s Centre is Black and Red Cabaret of Chaos, this extravaganza feaures all the Edinburgh Festival Carnival favourites: Bombrando (Portugal), KalentuRa (The Netherlands), Gwanaval (Martinique).

After the Carnival it’s the turn of Edinburgh’s Chinese community with friends from China featuring a special celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, with Chinese dragon and lion puppets, opera, dance, circus and music ensembles. The Chinese Arts & Cultural Show takes place at Festival Theatre on Monday 15 July.

Edinburgh Festival Carnival is produced by Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, with a dedicated Carnival team headed up by Giles Agis, Creative Director, and Emma Picken, Carnival Producer.

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