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Issue 71 - Editors View

Scotland Magazine Issue 71
October 2013


This article is 4 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Editors View

A Golden Era

If you happen to be heading to Edinburgh during August you will find the city transformed. When I say that I mean in terms of people. It feels like the city's population has swollen to at least four times its normal numbers. It is a very cosmopolitan increase with tourists, writers, critics and performers descending on the ancient streets for the world famous International Festival and Fringe.

The Edinburgh International Festival was established in 1947 in a post-war effort to "provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit".

For those few weeks in August there is no place like it on the planet. The wealth of talent, both established and upcoming, is mind blowing.

If, like me, you tend to experience Edinburgh outside this manic crazy few weeks, the change that happen is impressive and a little scary at the same time. The streets become packed, and I mean packed; the Royal Mile is awash with humanity.

Expect to see some curious sights as the casts from the many fringe events publicise their shows and street performers show off talents from fire breathing to magic tricks and much more besides.

It is worth looking out for unicycle riders, always fun watching them negotiate the packed streets, especially if they are juggling at the same time.

For the fringe virgin I think there should be a care package you can apply for because getting yourself organised and seeing what you want can be daunting; you should start planning now.

Hotels of course enjoy a bumper month at this time of year, so if you are staying outside of Edinburgh you need to plan your transport. The city is heaving and even walking takes its time.

Then there is the biblical sized events guide.

This is a tome and a half and really should become your main reference.

There is then the decision about what to see.

How do you know what's good? Who do you trust? I think probably the best advice is to talk to people, the performers if you can, what have they seen that they recommend.

My advice is not to discount anything, in terms of style of performance or venue; just because it is cabaret in a pub off the Grassmarket does not make it any less professional than something in one of the bigger venues. Use the Fringe to stretch your comfort zone.

Finally, be nice and take a flyer when you are offered one and don't mention the trams.