My 2019 Festival Diary Vol 1

Edinburgh styles itself ‘the festival city’. We have all kinds of festivals, about all kinds of subjects, all year round. But it is in the summer where the party really gets started.  Over the course of a few weeks, we have the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  It is an incredible period of vibrant creativity, excellence and fun.

My Mum and I kicked things off this year with art-immersion over a couple of days.  We saw the City Art Centre’s stunning exhibition of Victoria Crowe’s work.  I wrote about my love of this artist here and here. It was wonderful to see some familiar paintings again, and plenty of new-to-me ones too.  Here is a screen-shot montage of some of the photos I took as we went around.  I love this collage display of colour and texture, which is the epitome of Crowe’s style:


Talking of collage, we also went to see Cut and Paste at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. Among my favourite works were this pair of c1830 pictures by George Smart, depicting a goose woman and a postman.


And we managed to fit in a whizz round the National Gallery of Scotland’s Bridget Riley exhibition.  It is always fascinating to see her ground-breaking geometric work, but I particularly enjoyed the room of sketches and preparatory pieces which, in true maths good practice tradition, showed her workings:


Next came a few comedy shows with Hub and our nephew, Mitchel.  Perhaps the most compelling was the stand-up routine by New Zealander Liam Malone, who is a gold medal winning paralympian.  Mitch has his own paralympic ambitions, so Liam’s show was hugely motivating and inspiring for him (as well as being very funny).  He was also very kind and generous with his time, talking to Mitch before the show, giving him a shout-out during the routine, and posing for a photo afterwards.  Thank you Liam!

Mitch (L) and Liam (R)


Finally, I kicked off my book festival programme with a couple of memorable events.  Tim Winton spoke about his new book, The Shepherd’s Hut. I could have listened to him for ever.  He reflected powerfully on the importance of landscape in his work; the creative process (or lack of process in his case); and how he sees optimism and hope as disciplines and obligations which have the capacity to break and re-make things.

“Surfing and writing both involve a lot of waiting. A surfer is waiting for a swell, the residue of an event that happened in the past. When you get one, you ride their energy to the shore. That’s what I do as a writer. Stories and ideas are just ripples from old events.” ~Tim Winton


After a couple of hours relaxing in the festival’s garden, seated under this lovely old tree…..

…I saw Damian Barr and Kit de Waal talk about the recently published Common People: an anthology of working class writers. I am a huge fan of both authors and this was a wonderfully entertaining session, with an important point about the need for us all to make space for perspectives and experiences which are different from our own.

Of course, a festival would not be a proper festival without the addition of a bit of weather.  This is Hub and Mitch in the queue waiting to see Irish comedian Jason Byrne:

Never let it be said that we allow a bit of rain to dampen our festival enjoyment! 🙂

27 thoughts on “My 2019 Festival Diary Vol 1

  1. Hi Liz. That is a very succinct summary of just a few days really, but what enjoyable days they were for you and all of us. I certainly enjoyed very much the ‘art-immersion’ over the three days I was with you and as you know, All the exhibitions we saw were rewarding to see but I found the ’50 years of Victoria Crowe’ exhibition to be inspirational. Edinburgh is a very fine city and its events programme is world class but the company one keeps is the best thing for me!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. How lovely! I do envy you having all these festivals and cultural events so close to hand. It must be such a treat. I think I heard somewhere that the Bridget Riley exhibition will be transferring to London at some point. I do hope so as I’m very keen to see it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are so lucky to live here and be able to enjoy everything. I never lose sight of that. And fingers crossed that BR travels – it’s a marvellous exhibition.


  3. I was there every step of the way with you “in spirit.” What a marvelous collection of photos, experiences and conversations. So many memories held in these days that will continue to make you smile in the weeks and years ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am both intrigued and repelled by festivals like this–all those people and the crowds are really off-putting to this little introvert. Visiting vicariously, through your post, works great for me! I’m glad you’re having so much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a range of events and experiences, Liz, I’m so pleased you have shared them with us. I love the Victoria Crowe collage and I quite see why you rate her work so highly. I’m also very happy to note that this is ‘vol. 1’! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so right. It’s funny because when I was typing my ‘reading refresh’ post this morning, I was constantly thinking ‘who on earth will be interested in this’. But I got past all that and, lo, have had some great input already. Curse those naughty inner demons!!! 😈😂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. PS – I have just this minute read an article which quotes Sylvia Plath: ‘The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt’. 💕


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