Music for Bridges

What a beautiful Sunday afternoon we had on September 12th.

All around the parks, cycle paths, and bridges of North Edinburgh, we had music flowing all around for a thousand people to hear!

The Tinderbox Orchestra took to Victoria Park with a solar powered sound system, a summery gazebo, and all of their instruments held high; hundreds of people turned up, kickstarting the day with kenspeckled revelry. See the featured image for some pre-show crowds…

Afterwards, the orientation began. With the help of a beautiful map designed by Rhona Sword, the crowd was lead away from the park… for further festivities awaited. Down the disused railways of Edinburgh, now known as the cycle paths, there lay a busking trail! Stationed under each bridge towards Pilton were buskers playing for the cyclists passing by, as a wee surprise for routine walkers, and for those who followed the map and found their way to musical gems. I had the honour of performing there myself, and it was so wonderful to be part of such a unique experience and having the opportunity to chat away and play with and for the community.

On a separate path there lay even more – deep down within the trinity tunnel you could hear the new duets composed by Neil Smith, the one who inspired and influenced the whole day! Neil had composed some site specific duets for Trinity Tunnel, with one musician at one end and another at the other, you could walk through the tunnel and listen as the two distant composers played together; filling the space with rich, vibrant textures.

On the other side of Victoria Park, down by the Water of Leith, there is a space I can only describe as a perfectly secret little stage: The Balcony. There we were graced by the presence of S!NK who gave yet another stunning, improvised set brimming with musical surprises – so much joy and energy from the trio. I have to agree with BBC Radio 3’s Max Reinhardt when he says S!NK really are “Very, very brilliant indeed.”

It’s hard to believe that the day just kept going, but no energy was lost down by The Weir. The afternoon was concluded with one big jam session as all gathered down by The Water of Leith. We had some extra performances from the buskers, the orchestra got together again to perform Neil Smith’s “Vigil” and more, and we had some astonishing, dare I say… flabbergasting, performances from the public – honestly unbelievable, amazing. It was so heartwarming to see so many folk come together to celebrate some live music again, but also to use that creativity to celebrate these beautiful spaces tucked away in the corners of Edinburgh.

All in all, it was a truly unforgettable day overflowing with music, art, and creativity, but I believe binding it all together was this connection felt with each other and with the city.

Liam Dempsey