Tag Archives: best_festivals

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay: ‘Big Bang’ on 1 January 2013 #blogmanay

One element of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival is often a piece of street theatre designed to capture the audience’s imagination, provide a spectacle and some encourage some re-imagining of the city as a cultural, creative space. Some of Edinburgh’s most iconic thoroughfares have been used in the past, including the Royal Mile and George Street. Last night, 01/01/2013, an expectant crowd gathered in and around Buccleuch Place, in the university area of the Old Town near George Square. The air was still and dry, though cold, for a production from Plasticien Volants of France – a piece called Big Bang. There was plenty of humour in the show, the soundtrack went through different genres and we had occasional pieces of commentary to provide a little narrative and context. The biggest delights from the audience were when the flying ‘objects’ transformed themselves in mid air – the blobs in the first photo (body parts?) turned themselves inside out and became fish. Sometimes the French performers brought the balloons down to almost head level, and there were plenty of times when they engaged with each other to good effect.
This post is mainly for the photos that follow. They were all taken with an iPhone 5 and you can see from some that I was playing with the panorama feature, with mixed results! They are presented in chronological order and I’ve tried to tidy them up a bit. I think the phone did well in the low light conditions, handling the colours and contrast ok although failing to get particularly sharp focus at times.
Fortunately there’s greater focus in the work that goes into putting on such events. During the three days of Hogmanay the Torchlight Procession, Street Party, concerts, events and New Year’s Day activities set Edinburgh apart in what it’s trying to do by way of entertainment, shared experiences and destination promotion. Edinburgh’s a great place, made all the better for such high points through the year.

These images are also up on my Flickr page and you’ve welcome to use them should you wish, with attribution please: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsrjarman/sets/72157632409335571/

Top 10 places for New Year’s Eve traditions (courtesy of The Guardian)


For those who like to see a town or city animated through the careful application of a planned event or two here are a few new year’s eve celebrations to keep an eye on. Some have been handed down from one generation to the next, others from the seat of local government and public funding it would seem. Fire is a regular theme, as you might expect, as is Scotland.

Click the little ‘guardian.co.uk’ link under the photo for more.

Edinburgh Festivals’ far-reaching impact revealed

Edinburgh has the best evaluated festivals: yesterday saw the publication of a major impact assessment report on Edinburgh’s twelve main festivals (those who make up Festivals Edinburgh). Following the small ‘via’ link above this text takes you to the Festivals Ed media release; there’s then a link from which you can download the full 100+ page report.

The media release will give you the key findings, so I shall restrict my comments to applauding the thoroughness of their approach in carrying out this research, being open in their methodology and seeking at every stage to reflect the breadth of each festival’s impacts. It’s a report of its time and an important foundation for future work. It also recognises that there’s a policy angle to this, and you could say it hits the right buttons for continued investment in these events.

(I suspect this report will shortly be coming to a Festival and Event Management course near me.)

Got red hair? Head to Roodharigen in Breda!

Breda clearly has the best festival in the world for anyone interested in red hair. From the simple premise that not many people in the Netherlands have red hair comes an event to celebrate the lucky few. The website is http://www.roodharigen.nl/ and the poster for 2007 is below.

September 3rd and 4th this year: 5,000 people are expected!


SXSW 2011: The internet is over | The Guardian


This article (click the guardian.co.uk link above) was punted my way by Bob (legendary friend from school days of yore, you remember Bob?). It’s an optimistic view of our online future, principally seen from the user’s perspective. It features many of your favourite authors, but ultimately perhaps marks a point where many of today’s trendy terms start to enter the mainstream. Unsurprisingly it’s SXSWi-inspired, so perhaps Austin, Texas has the best festivals of the future.

It finishes on the notion that we live our lives as though we were computers, working harder to keep up with the demands we’re placing on our internal circuitry. This is seen as a bad thing: on the contrary, we should recognise that human life can’t continue mechanistically like this – we need time and space to recuperate, a ‘pulsing’ and cyclical experience. Just like events then: build up > actualisation and experience > evaluation and recovery. Some combination of the above will do nicely.

The Guardian Hacks SXSW


The Guardian has the best conference-festival-hack-day-event, it’s due this time next week. The conference-festival is South by South West, the hack-day is a way to bring people together to make stuff for following SXSW, and the ‘event’ nature of it all means that contributors have to be focused for those two days.

And there’ll hopefully be a legacy too: tools devised on 12 and 13 February 2011 will be available for future events, hopefully for anyone who wants to make use of them. It’s not dissimilar to the work Mark Coyle (from the BBC’s Olympics coverage) talked about during the EventScotland conference just before Christmas. In both cases the event is a catalyst for new ideas to be generated, put into practice, tested and refined. When the next opportunity to use them comes along, whether it’s another conference or the 2014 Commonwealth Games, they’re sitting on the shelf ready for further development.

Click for curtain-up: technology and theatre | Culture | The Guardian


Theatre has the best technology? A quick post from a Guardian article looking at technology-in-theatre, as fostered by a ‘Pervasive Media Studio’ project in Bristol. The analogy is with the use of surround sound in the movies: it’s not what you buy a ticket for, but is now a vital part of the experience. There’s scope for much greater use of ‘pervasive media’ in theatre and the ‘magic’ and connections it can make possible.

Yes, connections: there’s a networking aspect to this too as these early practitioners go out into the world with confidence in their ability to combine media.