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AUGUST FESTIVAL DINNER SERIES BY THE FREE COMPANY
This August, for the first time in over 60 years, life will be restored to the hay-barn at Cockdurno Farm Steading on the outskirts of Edinburgh asThe Free Companyhost their first Festival Dinner series to celebrate the excellence of Scottish food and drink – and to provide a brief moment of rural respite in which to recharge your batteries, before launching back into the urban crush of Edinburgh in Festival time.
The heart of rural Scottish life has been built round community: as a coming together of friends, families and neighbours to help with and share in the harvest, farm gatherings have always been important communal events. With the steady move into cities and a shift towards mechanisation this connection between people and land has faded, as has the mutual reliance on others in the community. The Free Company’s Festival Dinner Series is inspired by an attempt to rekindle this ethos of bringing people together and back into a rural setting.
Earlier this yearThe Free Companywas founded as a rural design house by a group of young friends based in Edinburgh: Jack Fletcher, Stella Stewart and Angus Buchanan-Smith have opened their doors for four consecutive weekends this August to host a series of dinners launching their recently restored rural event space. The Free Company’s long term aim is to attract and encourage other like-minded architects, artists, designers, writers, chefs and farmers to both work together and bring light upon the declining state of rural Scotland. Ultimately they intend to self-finance residential fellowships in the renovated bothy and studio.
Before studying painting at Glasgow School of Art, Stella found a passion for food, farming and design in the Highlands of Scotland where she grew up. She was exposed to design from an early age and has developed her career in Scotland working with friends and family. Briefly studying in London, Jack returned to Edinburgh to finish his degree at Edinburgh College of Art and to pursue his career as an illustrator. Angus grew up on Cockburn Farm and was deeply affected by the closure of his family’s 4th generation dairy farm. He left Scotland in 2010 after receiving a scholarship to study Art and Architecture at Cooper Union, New York, but paradoxically it was there that his passion for farming grew, and he became active in trying to make people aware of the decline and marginalisation of rural communities. When returning to Scotland last year he grouped together with Jack and Stella to form The Free Company.
Cockdurno Farm has been in Angus’s family for four generations and over the past year The Free Company have begun to rebuild and, where they can, restore the 17thcentury steading. As a literally hands-on group of architects, and their own in-house design-and-build team, they’ve established an artist studio by converting an old byre, built a workshop in the old milk processing room, restored the old farm bothy and farm house into their home and established a state-of-the art commercial kitchen situated in the heart of the courtyard. Finally they have restored the hay-barn that had lain empty for 60 years, turning it into a modern events space where the Festival Dinners will take place. This month the steading will come alive again, adding a new chapter to its 400-year story.
How to get to us.
Cockdurno Farm Steading is a few miles beyond the Fringe – the ultimate (just) out of Edinburgh dining experience. Accessible by car or by bus. The 44 bus from Princes Street takes you directly to Balerno where we will be running a shuttle service up to the steading.
Dates: 12th & 13th August, 19th & 20th August, 26th & 27th August and 2nd & 3rd September.
Pay-what-you-wish festival dinner series, reservation fee of £10, cash bar.
Location: Cockdurno Farm House, Balerno, EH14 7HZ
To buy tickets clickHERE
The Free Company has made the decision to make their festival dinner series pay-what-you-wish to make the experience more accessible to a larger and more diverse audience. To reserve a spot at the table there is a reservation fee of £10. There is a cash bar, and please contact us regarding disabled access.