Once more unto the breach, dear friends. Bleary reality may come as something of a shock after the gin-tinged excesses of the festive season, but while the nation has been frolicking with abandon we at The List have been gazing into our crystal balls in order to find something to lift those depth of winter blues. This is the fruit of our

5 The List 12-25 Jan 1996

labours: a six-page preview of the arts and entertainment highlights of 1996. Diaries at the ready, get scribbling.


hen it comes to festivals,

Edinburgh is lucky not to be

under investigation from the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, with no less than fourteen planned for l996. The Edinburgh International Festival (1 l—3i Aug) celebrates 50 glorious years of music. theatre and dance, with highlights including the Houston Grand Opera, Martha Graham Dance Company and the San Francisco Ballet, with orchestras from New York, Russia, Oslo and Cleveland.

Also reaching the big half century is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (11—31 Aug), which in 1995 entertained some 650.000 folk. This year looks to be even bigger with a large-scale circus spectacular planned, and a pre-Festival Celebrity Gala featuring star names frorn Fringes gone by.

Golden anniversary celebrations are also in order for the Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival (1 1—25 Aug). which this year features the UK Centenary of Cinema, plus a retrospective of films made in 1947 (the year of the first Festival). and a new category called ‘Films Which Changed The World'.

Earlier in the year, culture-seekers won't be found wanting at Glasgow's Mayiest (2—25 May). Now in it's thirteenth year, the festival attracts over l5(),()()() punters, a host of rrtajor music, theatre, dance and visual artists, and features a mass May Day parade.

As usual, music-lovers are well catered for in both cities, with jazz, folk and country high on the agenda. The tenth Glasgow International Jazz Festival (28 Jun—7 Jul) promises over 150 gigs, a Jazz Ball irt Princes #- Square, rumoured performances by Al Green and Mel Torme, and the declaration that ifyou thought the last nine years were good, ‘you ain‘t seen nothing yet‘.

The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (3—11 Aug) offers a Mardi Gras in the Grassrnarket, Jazz On A Summer's Day in Princes Street Gardens, and a week-long pub crawl, but if you can‘t wait until then, the Leith Jazz Festival (16— 1 8 Jun) sees streets, pubs and restaurantsjam-

packed fora weekend ofjazz and blues.

The Edinburgh Folk Festival (29 Mar—7 Apr) brings you the very best in traditional home-grown talent, plus popular international names later in the week, and a lively Festi 'al club. Dispensing with the usual venues, the Glasgow International Folk Festival (9—18 Aug), provides its own purpose- built temporary home in George

Precision movements from the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Edinburgh International Festival

Square, with music from Mexico, and Appalachian dancers on the cards. Following its hugely successful debut in I995, the Glasgow International Country Music Festival (31 May—9 Jun) subtitled Big Big Country,jumps from three days to ten and expands

beyond its Fruitmarket base into venues

across the city.

If it’s grass roots rather than bluegrass

you're after, then check out

* Edinburgh's Festival of the

Environment (25 May—2 Jun). This year's theme concentrates on the home, and shows that ‘environmental issues can be fun’. The tenth Edinburgh

Peace Festival (1—17 Mar)

consists of fun runs, street

events, conferences and environmental projects, while the Edinburgh international Science Festival (29 Mar—16 Apr) proves that you don't have to be an egg-head to enjoy technology, with over 400 events including a science fiction film weekend, book launches, science dome and a unique computer exhibition.

There‘s plenty of action for the wee ones too, and in May they get an entire event to themselves, the Scottish International Children‘s Festival. The week-long fun fest in Edinburgh's lrtverleith Park comprises theatre, music, puppetry, book events, face painting, craftwork, inflatables and much more. Kids are also in for a treat at Edinburgh's Netherbow Theatre,

although this time the grown-ups get to join in. The Puppet and Animation Festival (25 Mar—l3 Apr) features shows and workshops for all ages. while the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (28 Oct--9 Nov) brings folk tales and legends to life, this year with a Scandinavian theme.

New and original work can also be found at FebFest (16—24 Feb), Scotland's largest festival of new writing, with comedy, drama and cabaret based at the Bedlam Theatre in Edinburgh.

Venturing further afield, the Aberdeen Alternative Festival (10—19 Oct) is Scotland’s third biggest arts festival, and offers ten days of music, comedy, drama and dance, with the emphasis this year on ‘Rhythms ofthe World'.

Further up the country we welcome the debut of The Highland Festival (24 May—8 Jun), a celebration of traditional and contemporary culture, set in the breathtaking backdrop of the Highlands and islands. Closer to home, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre (29 Apr—5 Oct) once again kicks off with seven major plays, Sunday concerts and a myriad of music and theatrical events.

Rounding off the year, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay (29 Dec—2 Jan 97) will see out the old and bring in the new with an anticipated half million revellers, a torchlight procession, carnival, ball, ceilidh, concerts, fireworks and no doubt the odd dram or two. (Kelly McMenamin)