• James Waters Classical

Day 484 - The Edinburgh Festival does not exist

Updated: Jul 19

I just googled 'The Edinburgh Festival' and got 10,100,000 answers. Which is strange because there is no such organisation! In 1947 the Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama was founded with its budget apocryphally being bolstered by Lady Rosebery's horse winnings from the Derby (It won in 1944). It did everything from Mahler to archery. In the same years 6 companies who were not invited to what then was snottily known in a Morningside accent as the 'official festival' presented themselves at their own risk. From these beginnings has developed the mighty and absurdly large Fringe - 59,600 performances to around 200 for EIF. But a whole year round feast of festivals has developed off the back of these two - film, book, art, jazz, science, hogmanay etc. So much so that there is now a coordinating organisation, Festivals Edinburgh, which acts as a portal for visitors and manages the relationships between Edinburgh's Festivals and their key stakeholders. It is one of life's very strange facts that until about 2000 Edinburgh's festivals were regarded as a kind of August irritant. Now they are universally agreed to be indispensable to the cultural and economic well-being of Scotland's capital city. What a pity the Edinburgh Festival doesn't exist!

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