Celebrating 75 years of summer festivals in the city - Cammy Day
This year marks 75 years of summer festivals in the Capital and that familiar buzz has already returned to the city as the stages are set.
From children’s shows to street performances, fine art to films, live music to plays – there’s truly something for everyone to discover and enjoy.
Edinburgh festivals’ history goes back to 1947, where following the Second World War the Edinburgh International Festival was created to reconcile and reunite people and nations through art, in an event that surpassed political and cultural boundaries.
The past two years have been one of the most difficult for us all and as we continue to emerge from the pandemic, I see our festivals reflecting the role they fulfilled all those years ago in this special anniversary year.
As I write, Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival has come to a close following a 10-day programme of performances by fantastic local and international artists and the Edinburgh Art Festival opens tomorrow. The vast majority of the Art Festival is free to attend, and I would encourage everyone to check out the programme of events, art exhibitions, performances, screenings, artist talks and guided tours. With more to come across August with the Book, Fringe, International and Film Festivals, it is truly an exciting and varied month of exceptional festivals activity. This year we especially want to show our support for Ukraine and our twin city Kyiv with some amazing events such as the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra at the Usher Hall.
We’re incredibly proud to be known as the world’s Festival City, and I believe our vibrant cultural heritage and festivals offering is at the heart of our city’s identity. The Festivals make a positive contribution to our lives, bringing art to Edinburgh in a way no other city on the planet enjoys.
August is the time of year when the spotlight is on Edinburgh, where the festivals become a focal point for creative innovation, inspiration and of course fun!
Very many of our city residents enjoy our festivals already and we also look forward to welcoming visitors from across the globe again to experience our Capital in August. As a council we are committed to supporting the sector’s continued creativity and success and their place in the city.
We also want to strike the right balance for our residents. There is pride in being the world’s festival city and as part of that we want to make sure all of our residents feel this and get involved too.
Each Festival has their own community engagement programme. At a collective level, the Council, the Festivals and the Scottish Government fund the Platforms for Creative Excellence (PLACE) programme resourcing extensive skills, programming and community engagement initiatives across the festivals and the city.
I hope we can all find a little festival joy this year in August.
Cammy Day is leader of Edinburgh Council