The 2010s - Iconic Festivals Moments: Part One

Over the next five weeks we’re remembering the most iconic moments from the Edinburgh Festivals during the last decade. Here's the first installment:

Film fest in the city

Film Fest in the City landed
Launched in 2011, the outdoor screenings brought film lovers into the city centre, to celebrate the capital’s rich culture and creativity and generate excitement during the run-up to the world-famous Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Aston’s Stones 2012
In 2012 audiences were bowled over by Aston’s Stones at the Children’s Festival. Teater Pero’s play is about appreciating the small things in life finds joy everywhere: in walking down a familiar path, in unpacking the shopping, in the recurring promises to do DIY. said “Aston’s Stones is as close to perfect as theatre gets.”

Steve Bloom’s exhibition at the Edinburgh Science Festival 
In 2010 Edinburgh Science Festival celebrated the International Year of Biodiversity with a unique exhibition showcasing the work of award-winning photographer Steve Bloom.

A special Centenary Gala Concert
In 2017 the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival celebrated the early years of Jazz with a centenary gala concert. Showcasing some of the finest jazz musicians from New Orleans, performances included; New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jazz Band, Soul Brass Band, David L Harris Quartet and Ingrid Lucia, compared by the charismatic trumpeter and singer, James Williams.

Jazz swamp donkeys

The Scotsman Steps received a make-over
Commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery for the Edinburgh Art Festival 2011, Work No. 1059 is a major public artwork by Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed for the historic Scotsman Steps. Each one of the 104 steps which lead from the Scotsman Hotel on North Bridge to Market Street has been clad in a different colour of marble. 

Marble steps
EIF returned to Leith Theatre
The Edinburgh International Festival returned to Leith Theatre in 2018 for the first time in 30 years with a season called Light on the Shore, celebrating Scottish popular music and Leith as a creative hub. The season brought together bands, orchestral ensembles and curators including Mogwai, Django Django, Karine Polwart, Lau, Neu! Reekie!, Hidden Door and Celtic Connections.

Leith theatre

Trevor Noah made his first visit to the Edinburgh Fringe
Trevor Noah's career began when his cousin got into a fight with the comedians at a show in Johannesburg. As Trevor recalls: "He said: ‘My cousin is funnier than this, you should send him on stage.’ And I guess male bravado ensued. I went on stage. I had no idea what I was doing. I just spoke. And the crowd loved it.” Then, in 2012, he made his first visit to the Edinburgh Fringe, being invited and presented by Eddie Izzard at the Pleasance Courtyard. His stand-up show The Racist was an immediate hit and Trevor went on to succeed Jon Stewart as presenter of influential satirical news programme The Daily Show.

The lone piper changed at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Breaking new ground during the 2016 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was 21-year-old Lance Bombardier, Megan Beveridge. The youngest British Army soldier to qualify as Pipe Major, and the first woman ever to do so, Megan became the first serving female soldier to take the Lone Piper role on the Edinburgh Castle ramparts.

Lone piper

Two literary heroines united
in August 2014, JK Rowling appeared unannounced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival to introduce inspirational teenage activist Malala Yousafzai. "Malala is an inspiration to girls and women all over the world," JK Rowling said, adding that it was "a real honour" to introduce her. Malala was delivering a talk about her second book, an account of her battle to promote universal education after surviving being shot by the Taliban in 2012 while on the way to school.

The story of the Odyssey
A central component of the 2011 Scottish International Storytelling Festival was the performance of the Odyssey, the epic poem about the ancient Greek hero, Odysseus. Part of the poem was told each night by a different person, until two final events on 29 October, when several musicians and performers came together to tell the full story. “It’s allowed us to bring storytelling to a large stage and really showcase that this can be just as entertaining as the other art forms out there, and that it can be put on a large scale” said a spokesperson for the festival. 

We danced the night away to Simple Minds
In 2012 Simple Minds headlined Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. The band performed a set of their greatest hits in West Princes Street Gardens and the show was opened by Dundee band The View and Edinburgh's Bwani Junction.


Explore Part Two >

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