Hello Scotland and hello Edfringe Festival 2012. An eye opening experience, from not having to get permission to stick posters and leave flyers everywhere to bicyclists getting right of way along the busy roads. Production manager and I shared that sheepish moment, realising advertising was not such a pain in the ass way up North of the United Kingdom. The Edfringe energy was spectacular, spectacularly infectious, and anyone, artiste or not, would get sucked into the carnivalesque 'qi'.
It was a gathering of the Weird and the Wonderful, especially along the famous (and touristy) Royal Mile. From buskers half naked in the 16 degree wind to magicians mystifying eager crowds to comedians making a joke of themselves, that was one crazy street. All the wonderfully weird and weirdly wonderful was so overwhelming on the eyes; I distinctly remember one afternoon zipping through the throngs of students, children, parents, old folks, performers, beggars, bicycles, costumes and props when I decided very wisely to just look straight ahead because there was just way too much going on all around me. Even then, there was enough to entertain.
There's One-Man Star Wars dude, there's that squawking soprano who gets A for effort, yeap no festival would be complete nowadays without those Walking Dead Zombies, the super weird choir of geeky Asians (Taiwanese) in checkered uniforms led by a flute-player (don't ask), the towering stiltwalkers with breathing room a couple of metres above everyone else, a Victorian family straight out of an ancient portrait and the list goes on. Dotted among the standouts are the volunteer sai-kang warriors (Edfringe Street Crew) who keep some sort of order on the Mile and the marketers/ supporters furiously selling their respective shows to any one who comes along.
These budding artistes perform for the sake of sharing their passion for art and talent and hope for a good review by the publications in Edinburgh. Without the aim of profiting from ticket sales, performances tended to be more sincere. Known as a comedy festival because of the worthy crop of comedians flocking to Edinburgh every summer to make people laugh, the comedy that I managed to catch was certainly hilarious. When the time came to take our seats (free seating), as the only two Asian girls in the underground pub, we made sure to avoid seats right in the centre or in front. As if we didn't already stand out, we'd be presenting ourselves as prime candidates for some good natured, if not racist, ribbing. Classic case of asking-for-it had we sat in front.
I love Arts festivals and this is one that I am aiming to go back for in 2013 for sure. Proud to say I was more than just a spectator in this huge Arts festival and more than thankful for the great reviews we received and the new friends made in just a short week.
(Edinburgh is honestly not as boring as it seems., then again, non-festival Edinburgh may be a different story all together.)