Edinburgh: the summer of festivals

Created in 1947 to celebrate the end of the war, the Edinburgh International Festival has become one of the most important artistic events in the world for the quality of its many and varied shows. Throughout the city, several cultural events take place at the same time, creating a vibrant atmosphere: official festival (with dance, music, theater) and Fringe, a sort of "off" with amateur shows, but also a film festival, the "military tatoo" (military parade with kilts and bagpipes), the book fair, the jazz and blues festival ...

The international festival: classics revisited

This year, the opera is at the top of the bill, on the city's most prestigious stages: the Scottish Opera, the Festival Theater, the Edinburgh Playhouse will resonate to the sound of works by Wagner (Parsifal, Siegfried) or Stravinsky (Oedipe Roi, La Symphonie des Psaumes), conducted by “star” conductors such as Claudio Abbado or the Frenchman François Girard. A dark MacBeth, performed by the Ro Theater troupe in Rotterdam, or a version of Marie Stuart by the Burgtheater in Salzburg will occupy, among others, the stages of the theaters. Classical and lyrical on the menu for music lovers, as well as a retrospective of the Scottish tradition of political song. Finally, all ages of dance will be represented: from ancient Indian classical ballet to multimedia performances by young choreographers, combining bodily expression, video and contemporary art. Dance is no longer just tutus and ballerinas ...

The Fringe festival: bohemian and avant-garde

Street shows, “happenings” and avant-garde are more the prerogative of the Fringe. Just like the propensity to discover talent ... Do you know that Rowan Atkinson, in other words Mr. Bean, was revealed in the early 80s in the streets of Edinburgh? The Fringe is the biggest festival in the world, approved by the record books: this year, no less than 1 “shows” are expected! In bars, galleries, shopping or cultural centers, around the corner, but also in a few more traditional rooms: in all around 350 different places!
The Fringe quickly becomes an inextricable jungle ... Unless you have the right tools. All national and regional newspapers offer a selection of the shows taking place there, and the Edinburgh Festival Guide Daily, published by The Guardian, lists the day's events. Special programs on radio and television guide you through the festival's twists and turns (Channel 4, BBC Radio Scotland). Finally, word of mouth is also proving to be a source of good tips. Follow the old regulars!

Be a part of it!

Why not take part in the Festival's adventure? The Fringe welcomes amateur troupes with open arms. The condition is to register really, really in advance ... Ditto for the jobs created for the occasion: reinforcement in the dining rooms or in the kitchen, good legs to survey the city by distributing programs, an English nickel to inform lost visitors? The festival needs you! But since you're not the only one in the line, you also need to get started early. Of course, too late for the 2002 edition, all the positions are filled ... We can nevertheless count on withdrawals, especially within the framework of the Fringe. All the possibilities offered and the procedure to follow are on the website.
At the Fringe as at the International Festival, for a paid show, the cheapest ticket is around £ 5 (€ 7,80). If that's still too much, the most broke won't be able to miss out on THE day not to be missed: Fringe Sunday is a whole day of free and exceptional outdoor shows. This year, it will take place on August 11: it's an opportunity to taste the sweet and bohemian madness of Edinburgh in August ...

Specific information

Edinburgh International Festival : from August 11 to 31, 2002.
www.eif.co.uk: day-to-day program, online ticketing, and all the history of the Festival
Fringe Festival: August 4-26, 2002
www.edfringe.com: program, online ticketing, news and gossip ...

Saint-Martin Tourist Office
In Edinburgh:
Tourist information center
Waverley Market, 3, Prince street
Phone. : (00-44) 131-473-38-00
Fax: (00-44) 131-473-38-81
Internet: www.edinburgh.org

In Paris :
British Tourist Board
Does not receive the public, information by telephone only. Remember to order general documentation before you leave, as you will be charged for it on site.
Tél. : 1-58-36-50-50.
Internet: www.visitbritain.fr

Where to sleep ?
In South Side
10 Priestfield road
Tel / fax: (00-44) 131-668-24-35. E-mail: priestville@hotmail.com
To the south of the city, 6 large rooms from 22 to 28 £ (36,30 to 46,20 €). Neat decoration, TV in each room. Breakfast, Internet access and private parking.

In Old Town
33 Saint Mary's street
Phone: (00-44) 131-557-62-8. Fax: (00-44) 131-557-36-81
Internet: www.travelodge.co.uk
Rooms around £ 50 (or € 80) with breakfast. Very central and rather advantageous if you choose the room option for 4 people.

Where to eat ?
In Old Town
The 7 Restaurant
7 Old Fishmarket Close
Phone. : (00-44) 131-225-54-28
Open daily, continuous service on weekends from 12:30 p.m. Dishes around £ 9 (or € 14,9). Young and friendly welcome, "French" bistro setting and jazzy atmosphere.

Doric Tavern
15-16 Market street (1st floor)
Phone. : (00-44) 131-225-10-84
Service until 23 p.m. At noon, 2-course formula at £ 11 (€ 18,15). A little more expensive in the evening. To taste authentic Scottish specialties (including the famous haggis!), In a warm setting.

Where to have a drink?
In Old Town
212 Cowgate street
Open every day until 1 a.m. (midnight Sunday). Lively, smoky, sometimes packed! Young clientele, varied musical programming (jazz, soul, rock) and Sunday brunch.

Photo credit: © Paul De Backer

Audio Video Edinburgh: the summer of festivals
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