Noticeboard NewsGossipOpinion Opera de Lyon brings the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess to the Edinburgh International Festival

Did someone say festival? Whatever your cultural poison, Edinburgh’s festival circuit has it covered Words: Brian Donaldson

‘W hen a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’ That right, Samuel Johnson? Well, round these parts, if the dawning of the August cultural extravaganza leaves anyone (male or female) mightily peeved, then it’s probably time for them to shuffle off to some arts and entertainment-free alcove. Arbroath or Ilford maybe. While the Edinburgh film folk may still be happy to plough their festival furrow earlier in the year, it hasn’t made the city noticeably any less hectic come the eighth month. There is more than enough fun to be had for lovers of art, books, comedy, dance, theatre, music, politics and kids shows as well as those into spirituality and peace or military bands.

The shindig officially commences with the Edinburgh Art Festival (29 Jul–5 Sep), which this year features work from the likes of Richard Wright, Kim Coleman & Jenny Hogarth and Martin Creed. A couple of days later, the sounds of saxophones and scatting fills the Auld Reekie air thanks to the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (30 Jul–8 Aug). The first Friday of the month marks the official launches of three massively popular yet utterly diverse events with the Edinburgh Mela (6–8 Aug), Edinburgh Festival Fringe (6–30 Aug) and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (6–28 Aug) all kicking off.

This year’s Mela is aiming to include more grassroots, community artists while the Fringe box offices are already ringing up sales for the likes of Stewart Lee, Mark Watson and John Cooper Clarke. Against the backdrop of the castle, the Tattoo is a celebration of talent from four continents including pipers, gymnasts, singers, dancers and a motorcycle display team. A day later we have the sixth Festival of Spirituality and Peace (7–29 Aug), with this year’s theme billed as ‘The Golden Rule and Inter-Faith in the 21st Century’. Among the confirmed acts attempting to make this concept come roaring to life are Japanese taiko drum group Tokara and the Tibetan Monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. Fans of theatre, dance, opera and music get their fill with the Edinburgh International Festival (13 Aug–5 Sep) welcoming the likes of the Wooster Group, Alonzo King Lines Ballet and Opéra de Lyon, while bookworms have over a fortnight to get their gnashers into the best of Scottish and world literature at Charlotte Square Gardens for the Edinburgh International Book Festival (14–30 Aug). And the Festival of Politics (17–21 Aug) will surely be reflecting upon a landmark year in British electoral history. The ConDemNation? I give it five years, tops.

5 Things. . . GLAMPING The best glam camping options for 2010’s Scottish festivals

1 Yurt A big tent from central Asia, your average yurt can accommodate six people comfortably.

Festivals: Insider, Rock Ness, Wickerman, Belladrum.

2 Cloudhouse Sounds rather

magical, right? Calm down, it's just a more spacious yurt.

Festivals: T in the Park, Rock Ness, Wickerman, Belladrum.

3 Yurtel Also known as the Daddy Yurt (around this office at least), this yurt-hotel comes

fully-furnished, like a penthouse suite. Festivals: T in the Park.

4 Podpads/ Bunkpads

Looks like a garden shed, but with beds and electricity inside we're not complaining. Festivals: T in the Park, Rock Ness.

5 Tipis Get all Native American in the big pointy tents. Peace pipe/war paint optional, depending

on your mood. Festivals: T in the Park, Wickerman, Belladrum. WWW.LIST.CO.UK Visit us daily for arts & entertainment news

CATS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED The Traverse lead the way with ten nominations at this year’s Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland. Glasgow International visual arts show The Darktown Cakewalk: Celebrated from the House of FAME picks up nominations for Best Ensemble and Best Use of Music and Sound. They fight it out with Lung Ha’s Huxley’s Lab. See www.criticsawards. for more.

27 May–10 Jun 2010 THE LIST 9