It’s August in Edinburgh and that can mean only one thing: the Festivals. I wrote recently about how, during summer in the Scottish capital, it feels like there is a party around every corner. In August, it’s that feeling on steroids. The city centre shakes with music, narrow streets shrink further with the crowds, tipsy tourists walk purposefully towards their next engagement, and artists of every persuasion pepper the pavements. It’s magic and madness in the same breath.
On Saturday evening we joined the celebrations for the opening sound and light event of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), Bloom. It’s 70 years since the EIF sprouted in the years following the Second World War and — then and ever after — it’s inspired offshoot events which are now destinations in their own right (the Festival Fringe, for one).
Following the streams of people meandering around St Andrew Square, the light and sound show shone in the two hours before midnight, projecting striking images onto the adjacent New Town buildings. A homage to decades of multi-festival creativity, Bloom paid tribute to its postwar beginnings, quirky comedians, talented musicians and the famed Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Light bounced from the buildings and from strobes set up in the square, reflecting their luminescence in the tiny lochs of water below.
There’s something about wandering a city’s streets at night that I find quite mesmerising, and Edinburgh is no different. The Bloom evening event was a fantastic way to kick off the seventieth year of the Edinburgh International Festival and to pay tribute to the artists that have flourished from its growth. Here’s to the next month of days and nights filled with laughter, art, cabaret, theatre, song and style (and, please God, a bit less rain).