Having returned to Edinburgh from beautiful Arisaig it is impossible not to notice all the posters that have popped up all over the place. They announce the imminent arrival of the Edinburgh International Arts Festival and its 23 associated festivals. There are book festivals, jazz festivals, politics festival, contemporary art festivals, street performance, internet festivals and interestingly a festival of spirituality and peace. The Fringe festival (mainly comedians, but also theatre, poetry etc) is the biggest of its kind in the world. Last year the Fringe over three weeks held 2,500 international shows from 60 nations in 258 venues and sold nearly 2 million tickets. It is interesting to observe that stand up comedy has become hugely popular in the UK over the last 10 years. The top names, are now like rock-stars and play to stadium sized crowds and regularly engage in very lucrative tours. Some of the comedy, dressed up as satire is fairly nasty, mocking and angry and does little to inspire and much to generate cynicism. However it is interesting to note that the big stars, the most popular seem to have a more gentle approach, often more observational and self-deprecating.
I am particularly looking forward to the Book Festival and the interestingly named ‘Festival of Spirituality and Peace’. In its twelfth year, the base for the religious festival is an Episcopalian Church, St Johns on Princes Street although there are over 400 activities across 21 venues. With speakers, conversations, performances, film, food, exhibitions, family activities, workshops, art, culture and more ‘FOSP’ is now looking forward to its twelfth year. According to their website the organisers aim is ‘ to encourage community by exploring diversity. FoSP provides a platform for people to explore their own spirituality by engaging with other people’s, to promote peace.’ The programme is eclectic varying from a Soweto based dance troupe, Poetry in a Persian Tent, sessions on Ethical Banking, Jewish storytelling and Asian & Arabic fusion dance. I am booking tickets for some discussion events, including one with the title of ‘Where are the Organisational Healers?’ and another intriguingly entitled ‘Churches own 8% of the planet’. It is a fascinating time to be in Edinburgh – so I will share my experiences on this blog.