The Edinburgh Festival was born in 1947. In Britain. the ‘Age of Austerity' was in lull swing and it was the dream.amongst others. of Sir Rudolf Bing and Edinburgh Provost. Sir John Falconer. to counteract the dreary post-war feel by creating something as spectacular as the Salzburg Festival and to unite. through artistic performance. along divided Europe. From the very beginning. however. the Festival became more than one event. with the Film Festival starting in the same year and a number of unsolicited ‘lringe' theatre events turning up in small halls. This federal structure. otcourse. remains but you can now choose from over halt a dozen festivals all crammed intothree weeks in August.
Each festival has its own procedure tor obtainingtickets and information . . .tor details see below. (Please remember to omit the (031) code it phoning trom Ediburgh in the telephone numbers given below).
GENERAL FESTIVAL INFORMATION
I The British Gas Scotland Festival lntormation Centre in the National ( iallcry car park at the bottom of the Mound is open III—(i seven days a week from Saturday l3. and offers information on ‘the lot' »— all the various festivals. as vv ell as general information on the city.
I The Scotsman (30p. daily Monday— Saturday). the east cost based Scottish National has an extensive reviews section. as well as providing up to date inlormation on late cancellations and additions. 'I‘lw (i/rrsgmv' Hem/if also review s much ofthe Festival.
I Festival Times weekly throughout the Festival. price 40p. is devoted to reviews and interviews across the spectrum of lidinburgh events.
I Review '88 a recently established rival to Fl". provides similar coverage. Priced 20p. the first ofits three weekly editions is out on Monday IS.
I SCOTTISH Television as well as daily weekday coverage at hpm on their ‘Scotland Today" programme. have Sheena McDonald in ‘Festival (‘inema' at 10.35pmonThursday IS- a general preview of the Film Festival.
I BBC Scotland's 'Reporting Scotland' (weekdays. (v.35pm) should also. like its STV rival. carry sortie daily news ofthe Festival. More specifically. Muriel (iray hosts six review programmes on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10pm under the general title ‘Forth Fiesta'.
THE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
14 August — 5 September. This will be Frank Dunlop's fifth Festival and Edinburgh‘s 42nd. Still one of the most significant arts festivals in the International (‘alendar despite under funding. (the (‘ity (‘ouncil grant. as last year. is £553.000 which is £80000 lessthan in I986) and inadequate facilities. (Listen
out once again for rumours of plans foran international opera house). Although this year the Financial Times described it as ‘a cold collection of bitty'leftovers‘. Dunlop‘s most important innovation to date is the World Theatre Season. which began tvs o years ago to general acclaim. Musically. more serious questions need to be posed about the ability to run a major festival on such a tight budget.
Nev ertheless. there is always excellence around. After last year‘s Russian theme. l)unlop has decided to focus on Italy and on Naples in particular. lor musical inspiration although once again it by no means connects every event.
I Information The full International Festival programme is available in the Souvenir ( iuide. published in association with International Festival by Pastime Publications. price £2.50 (this guide has articles on all the Festivals but full programme information only on the International I'csln al ). and in the free booking brochure which is available from the Festival Office and Ticket (‘entrch 21 Market Street. Iidinburgh and from information points around the city. Individual programmes for specific events (containing programme notes and cast lists etc. ) are available at performances. For information only ring (031 ) 22(i-l00]. I Booking/Tickets ( ‘ounter bookings have already begun at The Festival Booking ()tfiee. 2| Market Street. Iidinburgh. 9am ~(ipm Monday to Saturday and
ltlam 5pm on Sunday. The wait can be very long but supermarket ‘ style numbered tickets at least prevent those awful shuffling queues. (‘redit card bookings and reservations can be made on (031)225 5750 Tickets can also be bought subject to availability on the door. halfan hour to an hour before performances. Some performances are already sold out but there is a returns desk in theoffice. This operates on a first come first served basis.
llalf price tickets for certain shows are on sale on the day from the British(ias Half Price Ticket Booth at the bottomof the Mound (next to the National (iallery) each afternoon between 1pm and 5pm. No phone reservations. a maximum oftwo tickets per person and first come first served basis.
Tickets can also be bought: through lidwards ck Iidw ards ticket agencies. (In London they are located at the British Travel Centre. 12 Regent St. SW1.01 37‘) 5822); through Prestel at many travel agencies; and by dialling the First (‘all (‘redit (‘ard Line. 01 2407200. In(ilasgow tickets can be bought from the Ticket Centre. ('andleriggs. (ilasgovv. 041 227 5511. lIl.3(lam~(i.30pm.
12 August -» September 3. Althoughthe Festival Fringe Society publish the Fringe programme and sell tickets from their High Street ()ffices. the Fringe isn't an organised. invited Festival in the same way the International Festival is. The Fringe has been around as long asthe
International Festival — in the early years the unprogrammed shows that started were known as anything from Barnacle events to Festival Adjuncts. Iiventually the name Fringe stuck and it has become internationally famous in its own right. and a model for theatre Festivals allover the world.
The Fringe Society ( 1959) has been responsible for much of the success ofthe Fringe. and they have been recently
rehoused in new offices at 180 I ligh Street.
This year 473 company's with 913 different shows will be brought to the Fringe and as time goes on the barriers between the Festival and Fringe break down. This explains why organisations such as Beyond the Fringe and the Fringe ofthe Fringe (aka The Iidge) have been formed in the hope of recapturing that original independent feel.
The Edge or Fringe of the Fringe return to the venue they used last year. St Patrick's Primary School. Drummond Street. Their box office is open frorn lllam—midnight and there is an all night ticket reservation service on the box office number: (03 l ) 557 6010. They will host theatre. experimental and Polish videos and cabaret every evening. plus Iidinburgh’s highly popular Thunderball disco. Thre will also be a freewheeling all-day opportunity for performers to do fifteen minute performances of new work. I Information Get a copy or the Fringe Programme. which is free and has British Telecom stamped all over it. To use it take a deep breath and dive in. It'sactually very well laid out. The main section isan alphabetical list ofcompanies giving details of their shows. show — time dates. prices etc. (‘omplete with the companies own descriptions of themselves. Ifyou know the title of the show and not the company the re is an index (subdivided into Comedy. Musicals. Revues etc) at the front. If you know only the venue name they are listed alphebetically at the back together with useful how to get there information and details of facilities for the disabled. plus full lists ofcompanies performing. Cross reference these with the main list. However unless you've used the programme well in advance to produce your own itinerary. you will need the free Daily Diary. An official Fringe publication. while it gives no critical information. it chronologically lists the day‘s shows. It is published the day before the day it cove rs and is available from the Fringe office and information points around the city. Many of the groups who failed to get their entries in on time forthe main programme will have their shows
' "the? .‘-,-
listed in the Daily Diary. The Fringe Office. 180 High Street (Royal Mile).will give you information on all aspects ofthe Fringe. (‘ome in person 10.30am—7.30pm and go straight to the counter - don‘t join the ticket queue or you‘ll be there allday. ()r ring the information lines. mam—7.30pm every day. (031 )226
I Tickets Buy tickets for Fringe shows either at the shows themselves (NB many box offices are only open immediately before the performance) or at the Fringe office. 180 I ligh St (Royal Mile) 10am—6pm (seven days a week). Late opening: Thursdays and Fridays. l 1. 12. 184.108.40.2066 August until 7pm. Be prepared to queue at the peak times(ie mornings and first week). Before queueing for tickets take care to look at the information on the boards in the Fringe windows —- they will often tell you if a show is sold out or whether ticketsare now available only from venue (particularly relevant for Assembly Room tickets).
Telephone booking with payment by Access or Visa is available during the same hours. seven days a week. on (031) 226 5138. Allow three days for processing of orders — tickets will either be posted or may be collected. If collecting remember to bring your credit card.
Postal booking. Send order form at back of programme together with Access. Visa. number or cheque to the above address.
Perhaps the most efficient way toget your tickets is to make use of the Next Day (‘ollection service. “lam—7.30pm. seven days a week. (‘ollect the form and special envelope from the office. ('omplete the form and leave it in the envelope with cash. a cheque or Access Visa number and pick up the tickets the next day from noon — it usually avoids queing.
McEWAN’S INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
20—27 August. Edinburgh now has two important Jazz Festivals complimenting each other. The Round Midnight Festival Jazz (see below) and the senior partner and rather more 'mainstream' McIiwans Festival. .Now in its tenth year it opens with the biggest. jazz parade in Iiurope. through the city centre followed by the (irand opening ball. There are literally hundreds of performances in a large number of venues all over the city. There will be a 10th Anniversary Concert at the Usher Ilall on the last day as well asthe Grand Farewell Ball.
I Information The Souvenir Programme is an absolute necessity for even beginning to come to grips with this festival. It costs £1. and is available from bookshops and newsagents in the city and from theJazz Festival Offices. 1 lb(‘anongate (Royal
The List 12— 18 August 1988 75