The most pleasant Festival surprises

  • The List
  • 23 August 2007

This article is from 2007.

Take 5

As the world’s biggest celebration of culture prepares to take down the bunting, we look back on a few of this year’s most pleasant Festival surprises

The not uniformly horrible weather
After what started out as a summer of slush, the temperature has improved in recent weeks with the sun even putting in the occasional appearance. OK, it might not be tropical, but at least it’s sweats rather than chilblains people are suffering in those cupboardy venues around town.

Unknown performers
This year, events like the Laughing Horse’s Free Fringe have given hundreds of performers a chance to get up in front of bigger and more appreciative audiences than they might normally encounter. The little-known acts of this year may well be the stars of 2008 so go along and check them out. We salute their generosity of spirit.

Film Festival fun
After several years of brow beatings and ‘education’, the Film Festival offers an all-embracing programme which combines entertainment and important works of international cinema. Control, Ratatouille, Planet B-Boy and A Mighty Heart all prove that popular and quality can co-exist happily after all.

This year’s big innovation at the Book Festival sounded like the technological equivalent of working with children and animals. But Norman Mailer’s video link-up and Margaret Atwood’s Longpen invention, which allowed him to sign autographs from across the Atlantic, worked an absolute treat.

The Green Room
Finding a novel spot to hang out has been made a little bit easier with the construction of this chilled-out, gloriously decorated venue and bar space in the belly of the ruins of the old Gilded Balloon site. Who wants to follow the crowds and hang out en masse when there is so much more space elsewhere. . .

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