If you’ve dropped by the Hidden Door festival, just around the corner from the Grassmarket in the Scottish capital though, you’ll have been in no short supply of either.
Hidden Door kicked off its program on 27 May, bringing a wonderfully unique, quirky mix of music, poetry, spoken word, cinema, theatre, arts and more to Edinburgh, and will be continuing to do so until Saturday 4 June.
We dropped by on Tuesday 31 May to get a taste for the festival, which is free every day until 6pm and ticketed afterwards. The vibrant authenticity and emotive feel of the set up is boldly apparent as soon as you step foot in the courtyard.
During the day we came across a range of art exhibitions and interesting spaces. Your entrance will take you through a dark-as-night tunnel before you re-emerge into the light, into what feels like a new community, separate to the city around it and yet entirely more connected.
After dark, it’s well worth paying the ticket fee to stick around. Tuesday’s schedule saw us stand through 18 musicians, poets and spoken word artists play back to back on the Tempest Stage over a four hour period. It might sound long but it flickers by in an instant – each tackling different issues and providing a window into a different world in a snapshot timeslot.
If one of the artists wasn’t your cup of tea, the next would be on in a matter of minutes, or you could’ve nipped off to the theatre or cinema set ups elsewhere at the festival, less than 100m away, but really, the variation in themes, style and atmosphere throughout the line up of the Poetry Jam was what made it so special.
Singer songwriter Cera Impala graced the audience with beautiful instrumental work across a variation of string instruments and unique, intimate vocals. Miss Irenie Rose brought her distinctive Isle-of-Lewis style to the stage at the end of the night in what was an absolutely irresistible musical performance; catchy, rhythmic and yet oddly otherworldly.
Each act differed so heavily from the previous and the follow-up that there was really something there for anyone who appreciates the art of language and sound and wanted to get engaged, but one thing common throughout the program and the festival in general was sincerity. It oozed it.
A brilliant opportunity to take in a collection of talent; obscure, eclectic, enticing and wonderfully bizarre. Hidden Door offers something that most won't get near in the capital outside of the month of August.