At the moment Edinburgh is chock-full of people for the festival season. Although in other places we hear it referred to generically as the Edinburgh Festival, it’s actually a series of festivals rolled into a few weeks, including the International Festival (high culture), Fringe Festival, Comedy Festival, Festival of Peace and Spirituality, and heaps more. I think I’ve heard it said that Edinburgh’s population doubles during this time (and a lot of the locals leave town to get away from the madness).
One of the great icons of festival time is the Military Tattoo, held nightly on the forecourt of the castle. It’s quite a spectacle, and well worth watching (though I don’t think I could do it more than once). We were lucky enough to go on one of the first nights when it was still nice and dry – the next few nights the rain was pounding down, and at various times coming home late from work I saw plenty of soaked-through grey hairs stumbling their way back down the Royal Mile.
It’s strange going to see something like the military tattoo if you’re into nonviolence and such. It’s quite an amazing artistic spectacle, and the precision of playing and marching is highly skilled and you can’t not enjoy it – but lurking in the background is always the knowledge that it’s also a celebration of “our glorious military heritage”. In the end, I left thinking that if the military spent more of its time concentrating on making high-quality music instead of making war, then the world would be a much better place.
There are more pictures on my Facebook page. Just click here to have a look.