Festivals - Capital Gains

This article is from 2008

Edinburgh Fringe

Edinburgh in August plays host to more artsy types, funny folk and wanton entertainers than anywhere else on earth. Anna Millar guides you through the melee

Kicking off the capital’s world famous summer festivals in late July, it’s the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (25 Jul–3 Aug) which is the longest running jazz festival in the UK. Following hot on its heels is relative newbie to Edinburgh’s festival scene, the Edinburgh Art Festival (31 Jul–31 Aug), which has quickly established itself as a major player, with a string of big name shows, and an impressive programme of curatorial talks and events.

Next up, for a touch of old-school tradition, look no further than the world renowned Edinburgh Military Tattoo (1–23 Aug). Since its inception over 50 years ago, more than 12 million people have travelled to the grounds of the city’s castle to see this landmark event.

In contrast to the Tattoo’s militaria there’s the Festival of Spirituality and Peace (3-24 Aug) which was set up as ‘a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’, which, in real terms means a series of concerts, performances and discussions on the well being of our all too fragile planet.

Not for nothing is the Fringe (3–25 Aug) dubbed ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. 2007 featured a gallus 2000+ shows. From comedy and theatre, to dance and musicals, the Fringe – which includes two inaugural events this year, the Edinburgh Comedy Festival and the EDge, which replaces T on the Fringe – remains at the cutting edge of fringe festivals the world over.

Further up the road, with its head-quarters near the top of the Royal Mile, the Edinburgh International Festival (8–31 Aug) regularly attracts some of the world’s biggest names from classical music, theatre, opera and dance. While across town, the Edinburgh International Book Festival (9–25 Aug) last year alone staged 700 events from 40 countries around the world.

Finally, nestled at the end of August, is the increasingly popular Festival of Politics (20–23 Aug). Running over a long weekend, this year’s line-up includes artists, creative types, social thinkers and, unsurpsingly politicians.

Finally, the Edinburgh Mela (25–31 Aug) concludes the season with a multi-cultural mix of theatre, dance and music.