Edinburgh festivals line-ups announced

This article is from 2010

Did someone say festival?

Opera de Lyon brings the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess to the Edinburgh International Festival

‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’ That right, Samuel Johnson? Well, round these parts, if the dawning of the August cultural extravaganza leaves anyone (male or female) mightily peeved, then it’s probably time for them to shuffle off to some arts and entertainment-free alcove. Arbroath or Ilford maybe. While the Edinburgh film folk may still be happy to plough their festival furrow earlier in the year, it hasn’t made the city noticeably any less hectic come the eighth month. There is more than enough fun to be had for lovers of art, books, comedy, dance, theatre, music, politics and kids shows as well as those into spirituality and peace or military bands.

The shindig officially commences with the Edinburgh Art Festival (29 Jul–5 Sep), which this year features work from the likes of Richard Wright, Kim Coleman & Jenny Hogarth and Martin Creed. A couple of days later, the sounds of saxophones and scatting fills the Auld Reekie air thanks to the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (30 Jul–8 Aug). The first Friday of the month marks the official launches of three massively popular yet utterly diverse events with the Edinburgh Mela (6–8 Aug), Edinburgh Festival Fringe (6–30 Aug) and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (6–28 Aug) all kicking off. This year’s Mela is aiming to include more grassroots, community artists while the Fringe box offices are already ringing up sales for the likes of Stewart Lee, Mark Watson and John Cooper Clarke. Against the backdrop of the castle, the Tattoo is a celebration of talent from four continents including pipers, gymnasts, singers, dancers and a motorcycle display team.

A day later we have the sixth Festival of Spirituality and Peace (7–29 Aug), with this year’s theme billed as ‘The Golden Rule and Inter-Faith in the 21st Century’. Among the confirmed acts attempting to make this concept come roaring to life are Japanese taiko drum group Tokara and the Tibetan Monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. Fans of theatre, dance, opera and music get their fill with the Edinburgh International Festival (13 Aug–5 Sep) welcoming the likes of the Wooster Group, Alonzo King Lines Ballet and Opéra de Lyon, while bookworms have over a fortnight to get their gnashers into the best of Scottish and world literature at Charlotte Square Gardens for the Edinburgh International Book Festival (14–30 Aug). And the Festival of Politics (17–21 Aug) will surely be reflecting upon a landmark year in British electoral history. The ConDemNation? I give it five years, tops.