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The Edinburgh Festival – Why Brits Are Missing Out

By R. Richmond

The annual Edinburgh Festivals are regarded world wide as some of the best Europe has to offer in terms of film, literature and music. Every year it is estimated that the population of Edinburgh doubles as the city becomes one of the most vibrant places to be in all of Europe. However, despite this worldwide recognition, only a third of the visitors are locals which means many Britons are failing to take advantage of this fantastic short break opportunity available to them right on their doorstep.

Starting in 1947, the Edinburgh Festival has grown into the largest festival in the world of its type. In 2004 there were an amazing 25,000 performances of 1,700 shows in over 230 venues across the city! To give an impression of how gigantic the festival really is, it would have taken over 5 years to see every performance back-to-back in 2004!

Many big names from both sides of the Atlantic have graced the festival throughout the years, such as Robin Williams, Christian Slater, Jude Law and Hugh Grant to name but a few. It is remarkable considering the vast amounts of money that these people can demand for a film role that they would choose such humble surroundings – but getting back to the roots of their acting careers seems to be the goal and the fresh challenge is one they seem to relish.

This year’s festival is set to be one of the most entertaining in recent years, with a large number of quality plays, concerts, gigs and films set to entertain the masses throughout the duration. One of the most eagerly awaited plays is “Beyond Midnight” by Diane Samuels – writer of the popular “Kindertransport”. Pitched as an adult fairy-tale, the production picks up where Disney left off and follows the trials and tribulations of Cinderella’s daughter, following the death of her mother. While this dark tale is certainly not for children, no Edinburgh Festival would seem complete without a fresh offering from the Trestle Theatre Company.

One film that seems set to make its mark is “On a Clear Day” which tells the story of a man recently made redundant who decides to focus his life into swimming across the English Channel. Starring Peter Mullan and Brenda Blethyn the film can certainly draw parallels with the Full Monty (another Edinburgh Festival hit) and certainly seems to be the next worldwide British blockbuster.

In terms of music, Franz Ferdinand are a Scottish band making waves and their festival appearance at Prince’s Street Gardens is eagerly anticipated by fans and critics alike. Perhaps the main reason for this is it will be one of the first opportunities to hear the band’s new work from their new album – “You Could Have it So Much Better...With Franz Ferdinand” – set to be released in September 2005.

With so much going on in the city there really couldn’t be a better time to visit for a few days. However, despite numbers increasing steadily throughout the years it is amazing that more Britons do not choose Edinburgh as a short break destination at this time of year. Accommodation can certainly be hard to come by but hotel specialist companies such as http://www.superbreak.com always have a range of excellent deals in city hotels for those looking to spend a weekend in Scotland’s Capital.

In many ways the situation mirrors visitor patterns in London’s West End. For years American and Japanese tourists realised that the quality of venues and shows available in London were amongst the best in the world – it just seemed to take locals longer to take advantage of its wonders. However, this trend is certainly reversing and, buoyed by high profile shows such as “Billy Elliot”, London’s West End is proving extremely popular with Britons looking for an event driven short break.

For further listings on all aspects of the Edinburgh Festival try these helpful websites - http://www.edfilmfest.org.uk and http://www.edfringe.com.

About the author:
Edinburgh based travel writer and webmaster of http://www.travel-tips.co.uk


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