Wake up, it’s a beautiful morning… the morning of the 4th August to be precise! The day has finally come, the sun is shining and the birds are singing (in my imagination anyway) – the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has landed.
Today marks the beginning of the world’s biggest arts festival, and 2010 specifically being the year of the biggest Fringe Festival to date. And so I nerdily thought to myself, what better time than the holidays – a scheduled break from organised education – to provide you with a history lesson on the history of the Fringe?
To say that the festival takes over the city this month would be an understatement. Being just one of Edinburgh’s festivals, it was set up in 1947 as Edinburgh International Festival’s alternative. But over the decades the Fringe has grown to be the largest of the Edinburgh Festivals, selling a wa-hopping 1,859,235 tickets in 2009.
Unlike the majority of festivals, for the performers there is no audition or reality TV style selection process – anyone and everyone is free (their funds and time permitting) to perform as part of the festival. However this unjuried nature has come under fire in the past, with many arts critics asserting that this does not guarantee or encourage a particular standard of quality, as well as expressing negativity towards the growth of stand-up comedy at the festival – now the largest entertainment genre.
The Fringe’s response? Superior quality isn’t the aim of the fringe. Rather it is to celebrate imagination, creativity and achievement, and to act as opportunity to bring together people from all levels of artistic accomplishment.
And who knows, if there were some sort of strict judgment as to what could and could not be performed at the festival, it is likely that we would never be provided with the opportunity to witness a couple of the more ‘alternative’ highlights on offer:
The Bjorn Identity
As was recently revealed on his BBC Radio 1 show, Scott Mills will be heading up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this month. The weekday afternoon DJ will be following in the footsteps of the many brave fellows who choose to perform solo performances, often of famous movie classics or musicals. His choice? A one-man performance of the first in the Matt Damon action trilogy, featuring the hit songs of ABBA. In other words, The Bjorn Identity.
Listen to Radio to find out more about performances for The Bjorn Identity.
Originally performed by former Washington Senate workers, Obama Mia! parodies the obsession of the press with the first black president of the United States – featuring the hit songs of ABBA (and others).
Obama Mia! is being performed as part of Just the Tonic at the Caves.