I did a search, ‘what’s on at the Edinburgh Festival today?’. There are 3586 events today and that’s just the Fringe. The Edinburgh Festival is more…so much more!!!!! There is a Book Festival, an Art Festival, a Film Festival, an International Festival and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Oh and to start it off there was the Edinburgh Food Festival. Along side these there is the Fringe by the Sea, the Pittenweem Arts Festival, even Dalkieth gets in on the act with open-air cinemas in the Country Park. It is totally overwhelming.
Our first day we decided to take the 8.5 mile one hour bus journey to the city (not usually that long but there is a festival on!!!) just to get a feel. I was sure the woman said to get off at the last stop. We blithely passed into the city and out the other side. Um “Hey John, those bus stops say ‘from the city’,” We jumped off and got the one going ‘to the city’. Have to brush up on my Scottish accent.
The place was heaving. It was a smashed ant colony and they had run amok. Tourists swarmed. Buskers scattered- Musicians, jugglers, dancers- teams and individuals- all vying for audience attention- and these were the ones that were off pist!!! The better ones apparently were on the Royal Mile. Day one and we didn’t even get that far.
After ‘A Taste for Impressionism’ at Scottish National Gallery, a wander down Princes Street and stumbling into the gorgeous Rose Street, we decided it was enough for one day.
Day two and we were better organised. A show, La Clique. The logistics of finding the ticket office to collect tickets, the venue, the bus the stop…. It was fun. The show was brilliant. We still hadn’t been to the Royal Mile!
Determined to see what the fuss was all about we ventured into the city, this time at a more reasonable hour in the mid-afternoon and start in the middle of the Royal Mile. It was busy. Some of the buskers were brilliant, others probably not my style. We decided on a show. Stand up- bad choice. Well you just can’t win them all.
Marathon day- we made a decision to make our last day EVENT full! It was Saturday and bright, sunny and hot. First show was at The Grand in Pleasance Courtyard. It was all double Dutch to us too but we found it. Wow…It was a major venue for the festival and the courtyard we stumbled into was filled with bars, coffee vendors and street food stalls.
‘Fantastically Great Women who changed the World’, was exceptional and the spontaneous standing ovation was well and truly deserved.
We squeezed in two more shows, a few more buskers and dinner at a great Kurdish restaurant before the Tattoo.
The ‘Voices of Bond’, a show performed by a group, Night Owl showcased a woman with a spectacular voice and musicians who did the Bond themes brilliantly. Then we saw ‘Cello on Fire’. I know I am a bit of a philistine when it comes to classical music for cello but this was …well..misleading. I was thinking a little along the lines of the vibrancy of the group, the Two Cellos. Maybe the word ‘fire’ suggested lively, bright, passionate, spirited… It began with a dirge- sad, soft, slow. It never improved and in fact when he said he would be playing a piece reflecting the nature of mourning Sicilian women indulge in and added that the singing, his, would be deliberate, I almost woke up. Then he began to moan, groan and whine. I sat motionless. Then to my horror at the end of his performance two thirds of the audience, about sixty people, gave him a standing ovation! I figured one third third thought he was innovative, imaginative, something, and the other third work up in shock, flummoxed and stood because that’s what you do when you are suddenly woken and the final third like me, sat, stunned out of our stupor. Then just to add to my misery, he took all this adulation as a sign he should avail us with another piece. Note to self- when you don’t know about the show sit close to door for easy escape.
When you think Edinburgh, well you just think Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh Tattoo. It would be remiss of us to miss both and taking in the Tattoo you get to see the castle, at least from the outside. Sounds like a plan. Seating capacity is 8800 and with a cast of 800 it is quite an event. The weather was perfect, our seats were wonderful and we enjoyed the show.