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Our Beer Woman’s Verdict

Guys, it’s simple. Hidden Door is cool and you should go.

Oh, you want to know more? Okay.

So some lovely people from Edinburgh and beyond who like art, theatre and music did this awesome thing last year where they turned a disused space – the vaults on Market St – into a series of awesome spaces. It was fantastically well decorated in vivid colours by local artists. Then local bands came to play there and it was very atmospheric. And lots of local theatre companies staged these intense and engaging plays and local food vendors sold their tasty wares. DSC_0738

And everyone did all of this for free without funding or backing because culture is cool and should be more accessible. It was a storming success, so they’ve gone and done it again.

This year, the Hidden Door guys have cleared out the old disused street lighting depot off King’s Stables Road (who knew that was there? Yeah. Exactly. *Hidden* Door, guys. Hidden.) and created all these magical spaces in what remains. One room with a very high ceiling, which is going to be a theatre, has paint peeling off the wall like unmoisturised sunburn. It’s addictive to look at. (And hard to resist picking) DSC_0737

Another has a series of mesh cages in it, for no known reason. They put a bar in there. Then there’s a pretty blue caravan with bonsai trees in it, intended for poetry readings. Meanwhile, under some arches in an adjacent building, a smiley lady has spent her evenings on a frighteningly high ladder, stringing delicate paper aeroplanes in different colours across the ceiling. I’m really not doing it justice. Check it out: it’ll be a brilliant burst of colour, lovingly put together.

Bars are dotted throughout the location and serve lots of Scottish stuff, including Black Isle Organic, Tempest and a pale ale especially brewed by Barney’s (one or two of which I may have had before writing this. Ahem.) There’ll also be Thistly Cross Cider and Lebanese mint-steeped gin from the newest kid on the Edinburgh drinks block, Daffy’s.DSC_0714

But don’t let all that alcohol go to yer heid, pal. Fill up with Stockbridge Market stalwarts Harajuku Kitchen, who will be serving their delicious homemade gyoza throughout the festival. Or opt for Wild Rover and their locally sourced meat and veggie burgers during the first week, and Ninja Buns and their outstanding Taiwanese buns the second week. It’s all good.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Hidden Door is a hipster’s wet dream. Maybe you’re right, reader, but that’s not the point. Those of us without a fringe or a beard can still enjoy it, because it’s all delivered with devotion, in an inviting and intriguing way. And it’s one of those great grassroots arts projects, put together by all these arts-dedicated individuals, who’ve given up their time to create something fun and different for everyone else. The city needs more of this. So grab a mate, grab a beer, go support it. If you don’t, it might not be here next year. DSC_0720

Hidden Door runs 22-30 May and it’s free from midday to 6pm. From 6pm, tickets are £15 (remember, they don’t get any funding. Everyone works for free. Your money goes towards doing it again next year.) You’ll get access to all the bands, shows and installations that evening. For a few extra quid you can also get into the Bongo Club down the road for proper late night dancing. Find out more about what’s on and buy tickets here. Go!

Written by BKR