Festival Fever

So … Edinburgh in August. Pretty much unlike anywhere else on Earth. Festival mania reigns. You’ve got the Festival, the Fringe, the Book Festival, the Film Festival, the Tattoo, and one or two minor hangers-on like the no doubt well-intentioned but, if you ask me, just plain spurious Festival of Politics.

I’ll be taking in some potentially interesting stuff, including Beowulf, The Bacchae (with Dionysus played by Nightcrawler!), and Stardust. Half the fun, though, you don’t need a ticket for. It’s in the random blizzard of activity, and the sense of semi-organised and mostly good-humoured chaos that engulfs the city. And the dedicated performers going to great lengths to promote their shows:

And that, by the way, was not the first but the second person I saw lying in a coffin on the street within a hundred yards or so. Great minds evidently think alike, though I’m not entirely sure ‘great’ is the operative word here.

The streets heave with tourists, performers, the famous and the not-so-famous, turning the whole city into one giant show (and, supposedly, doubling its population). I’ll be looking for Albannach, who are regulars at this time of year, and put on one of the best street gigs:

All in all, it’s a fun few weeks. It turns out (I discovered via the Woolamaloo Gazette) that this is the last year that the Film Festival will take place during August. They’re shifting it to June from next year. I really like the concentrated insanity that results from having all the festivals going on at more or less the same time. Losing films from the August mix is a bit of a pity. Not that there’s exactly a shortage of other stuff going on, I suppose.

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