Top 5 Things to Do at the Edinburgh Festival
Edinburgh residents have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Edinburgh Festival – as in some love it, some hate it with a passion. I lived in Edinburgh for around 11 years and always loved the madness of the festivals, and I still go back for them every summer. That’s partly why I set my novel Out of the Blue, about a 16-year-old girl who finds one of the angel-like ‘Beings’ that have been falling from the sky for the past eight months, during the Edinburgh Fringe. The chaotic atmosphere really lent itself to the angel-catching craze in the story, and it made it really fun to write.
If you’re heading to the Edinburgh festivals this year, here are my top 5 tips:
1. See something you couldn’t see anywhere else
Performers from all over the world come to the Edinburgh Fringe, so it’s a great chance to see shows you probably wouldn’t come across otherwise. I always see a lot of comedy, but in the past few years I’ve tried to branch into other genres – last summer I saw a paper art puppet show from New Zealand, a rollerblading Russian string quartet, and an interactive musical all in Ukrainian.
2. See the “other” festivals
Though ‘the Festival’ is often referred to as a single entity, there are actually a few of them taking place in August. As well as the Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival, there’s the Royal Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh Art Festival and my favourite, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is excellent and brings dozens of amazing authors to the city each year.
3. See some freebies
If you’re on a budget, the Royal Mile is a great place to catch previews of shows and street performers and generally experience the hectic Fringe vibe. There are also free shows in the programme, including lots of comedy. Some of them are just as good as the paid stuff – and some are unimaginably awful, but that’s all part of the authentic Fringe experience.
4. See more of Edinburgh
It can be hard to cram in sightseeing or walking into a jam-packed schedule of snows, but I recommend seeing a bit more of the city if you can. If the crowds get a bit much, head to Portobello Beach, for a walk up Arthur’s Seat (where the Being falls in Out of the Blue!) or along the Water of Leith. If you want to go a bit further afield, North Berwick is really nice for a day out.
5. Eat lots of food!
Edinburgh is a great place for foodies, and during the festivals there are some amazing food trucks around George Square and in the Meadows. Some of it is kind of (very) hipstery – last year I had squid ceviche – but there’s also amazing pizza, burgers, mac and cheese, etc. I’d also recommend ice cream from Mary’s Milk Bar, nachos from Auld Hoose, grilled cheese from Meltmongers... and if it’s your first time in Scotland, you obviously have to try haggis.
When angels start falling from the sky, it seems like the world is ending. For most people it doesn't. But for Jaya the world ended when her mother died, two weeks before the first angel fell.
Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived and, as the world goes angel crazy, Jaya's father uproots the family to Edinburgh, intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can't stand his obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother's sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she's determined to stay out of it. Then something extraordinary happens: an angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive.
Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, Sophie Cameron's Out of the Blue tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.