Edinburgh's culture sector needs our support - Angus Robertson

Sunny Edinburgh feels a long way from the darkest days of the covid lockdown and the worst of the pandemic death toll.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 7:00 am
Festival Fringe entertainers perform on the Royal Mile in 2019
Festival Fringe entertainers perform on the Royal Mile in 2019

There is a buzz about the Scottish capital as people have taken the chance to be out and about with family and friends, with shops, pubs and restaurants open. We are still not out of the woods however everyone hopes that we can get back to a new normal as quickly and safely as possible.Last year was the first time that Edinburgh’s festivals have ever been cancelled across the board and this year there is a limited but hugely welcome comeback. As home to the biggest arts festival in the world, it’s great to see organisers and participants work hard to put together programmes within safety constraints and despite uncertainty about when rules can and will be fully relaxed.The Edinburgh International Festival will take place from 7th-29th August with more than 170 shows and productions at 10 indoor and outdoor locations across the city. Most of the events will be held at three pop-up ‘pavilions’, including a new culture quarter at Edinburgh Park near Hermiston Gait, at Edinburgh Academy Junior School’s playing fields and in the quadrangle of Edinburgh University’s Old College. The EIFF will kick off with what is billed as a three-day ‘spectacle’ in the Royal Botanic Garden.The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run this year from the 6th to the 30th August, although much will depend on official guidance about what will be possible by that stage. Organisers, artists and venues have been working together to plan their options and show registration for online and in-person performances has been open since last week. Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Book Festival will go-ahead from 14th to the 30th August at its new venue at the Edinburgh College of Art. While the full programme is still set to be published, the intention is to hold events inside and also at the venue’s grassy outdoor spaces.Most of Edinburgh’s 11 festivals will also be running, including the Edinburgh International Science Festival and the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival in July, the Edinburgh Art Festival from the end of July to the end of August and the Edinburgh International Film Festival Festival which has moved to the second half of August. Full details for all of these festivals will be announced in the weeks ahead.Cultural events have already been running in Edinburgh with the International Children’s Festival proving a hit with a hybrid programme of online and outdoor theatre and dance. Edinburgh’s outstanding literary and arts collective Neu! Reekie! have been marking their 10th anniversary with an exhibition at the Ltd Ink Gallery in Leith. It’s an amazing achievement to have held more than 200 Neu! Reekie! events involving more than a thousand poets, singers, musicians, artists, film-makers and dancers and watched by tens of thousands of people.Whatever art or entertainment you are into, now is the time to support the culture sector. Who knows how long it will take to see a full relaxation of the lockdown, but with festivals, venues and artists are working hard on a comeback they need our help. Programmes, event schedules and tickets are available online and being updated in the weeks ahead. Check out what’s on and support the arts.

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