The thronging crowds and entertainers that line the streets of Edinburgh at this time of year are a thing of great pleasure to the many locals and tourists who take to the City for the two week event. It isn't often thought about why, when or who created the festival.
Edinburgh Festival is in fact the largest festival of art and culture in Europe and has been around since the post second world war era. Not to be confused there are two festivals The Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are two separate entities with a totally different ethos.
The Edinburgh International Festival was created in 1947 in the Spirit of post war Britain as an attempt to provide "a platform for the flowering of the human spirit." It was an idea conjured up between Rudolf Bing, The General Manager of Glyndebourne Opera, Henry Harvey Wood the Head of the British Council in Scotland and some civic leaders from the City of Edinburgh. The idea was to create a world class cultural event that would also generate a new source of tourism for Scotland.
So what about the Festival Fringe? The term fringe seems an odd one to have - the story behind this is the original Edinburgh International Festival had a number of invited acts to come and perform, acts ranging from opera singers, theatre to dance and eight groups of uninvited performers also turned up and gate-crashed the event, the same happened the following year and increased in size. A journalist from the Evening News came to report on the festival and he states "Round the fringe of the official Festival drama there seems to be more private enterprise than before"
And there the title was born.
These days the Fringe Festival attracts any performer who can pay the fee for entry and can perform whatever they chose. Now in its 66th year the event has grown in size and popularity and is considered one of the most important cultural celebrations in the world. The fact that it has attracted generations' shows the idea to enrich the cultural life of Post War Europe was a very good idea indeed if the continuing success of the event is anything to go by.