Edinburgh Fringe on the Royal Mile: A wee taste

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The Edinburgh Festival is in full swing, and our city streets are crowded with locals and visitors from all across the earth. Probably the single most congested spot in the city in the afternoon is the Fringe Street Event, on the stretch of the Royal Mile which runs past St Gies Cathedral. All around the ancient spires actors from the fringe shows advertise their acts on the street. You can get a taste of scores of acts for free, in a carnival atmosphere, full of fun and colour. It’s hard to know where to look.

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You can also find a constantly changing array of busking musicians, who get half hour slots to show case their talents. So the air is filled with a bewildering array of musical notes and styles, all adding to the chaotic buzz of the street. All of them are very talented, and a wonderful free show, which changes hour by hour.

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You will bump into characters from all sorts of different time eras, as though a time machine has brought them all together into one historic setting. This chap was in a steampunk Sci-Fi show, and very happy to pose.

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Scattered through the area are all sorts of living statues. I find their slow movements entrancing, and their elaborate themed costumes are wonderful. This golden clockwork lady performs with her hoops when people put coins in her jar.

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You might even find fairies floating through the crowds, sprinkling magic and advertising their show.

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Just in this area of town fly posters are allowed, and even encouraged. All free surfaces get covered in growing layers of adverts vying for your attention. This row of phone boxes are very close to the Fringe Ticket Office, and so they get quickly covered. There’s a feeling that if you stand still too long you might get covered in posters too.

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Here are a few more of the wonderful characters I came across on Tuesday. All of them are actors keen to talk about their shows, pressing flyers into the hands of everyone whose eye they can catch. The historic back drop of cobbles and cathedral adds to the dramatic and slightly surreal feel of the whole experience. The crowds of people, feel like a timeless throng pressing through the history seeped streets, and the atmosphere is wonderful despite the crowds.

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I hope you enjoyed my montage of the Edinburgh Fringe 2013, on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Let me know your favourite if you have one.

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
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39 Responses to Edinburgh Fringe on the Royal Mile: A wee taste

  1. Liana says:

    That looks soooooo fun! You’ve captured it entirely…I can hear bagpipes. I’ve even forgotten that some jerk broke into my car where I was parked below the castle a couple summers ago and left me with a bad memory of Edinburgh. Your post is everything that’s wonderful about that magical city.

    • Oh isn’t it horrible how one idiot can leave such a sour taste that it ruins a trip. So gad you were able to forget at last, let it go, and come back into love with Edinburgh πŸ™‚

  2. I was at this festival years ago and your photos brought back such nice memories. Thanks!

  3. wisejourney says:

    Thank you so much for the wee taste. I would love to go and now it is officially on my list!!

    • My pleasure, and if you come during August, although its incredibly busy and crowded there is so much to see and do……and it’s easy to slip away from the crowds to find some space.

  4. frizztext says:

    so many creative ideas to make the festival not boring πŸ™‚

  5. marob23 says:

    Seonaid- what a cornucopia of delights ! I am heading out there later today, hoping to avoid the rain showers. These are great pictures and I always see a real warmth and vibrancy in your pictures regardless of subject matter. Don’t feel I can really pick a favourite as I prefer the overall collage, although the young man with the moustache looking into camera ( quite the Dandy) is charming.
    I think it sums up the optimism and fun of the festival and the hopefullness of youth.

    • I hope you had a wonderful time in town at the festival yesterday. Thanks for the lovely feedback, it’s great to hear I caught some of the energy and emotions I was feeling as I wandered through this space. He is rather charming isn’t he πŸ™‚ The great thing about this place is that the actors are all very happy and comfortable having their photos taken….that helps.

  6. colonialist says:

    Fascinating. I would love to be able to take that all in. The atmosphere must be fantastic, and the shows great fun.

    • Edinburgh is a very stimulating place to be in August…busy, but invigorating. There is so much to see its difficult to focus, and this was true of trying to photograph this thespian filled street…. Where to point the camera…what to include in the shot and how on earth to find interesting angles in a busy street filled with people!!
      So glad you enjoyed what I caught πŸ™‚

  7. beautiful pictures as always πŸ™‚

  8. Pingback: The Winter Tradition | A Whole Lot Of Everything

  9. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Advocates Close is my favourite! What a photographers dream it is, you must have had a ball. Your photos are superb, full of feeling and atmosphere πŸ™‚

  10. What a great day. I have been to Edinburgh once and would love to go back and walk the Royal Mile again. I remember tiny little side streets with tiny little shops.

    • This madness runs for weeks, and this is just a tiny one hour snip! This time of year isn’t so good for browsing the tiny shops as they get very crowded, but by the 24th August the whole festival madness ends and everything drops back to manageable levels for browsing those delicious tiny shops πŸ™‚

  11. I’ve heard so much talk about the Fringe festival but always thought it was just a comedy showcase – opened my eyes to the fact that it covers so much more. Must be an exciting (but busy) time to be an Edinburghian πŸ™‚

    The people I assume were referencing C S Lewis outside of Advocates Close was the picture that caught my attention most πŸ™‚

    • Oh it’s sooo much more than comedy, although there’s plenty of that too. Over the years I think I’ve seen almost all the new big comedy acts before they get signed to tv, here in Edinburgh! There are more plays put on than any one reason could see in a whole year, over just two weeks, it’s wonderful.
      I loved that scene in Advocates Close, they were creepy but intriguing, and lots of fun! Thanks for giving feedback πŸ™‚

  12. All of the photos depict a wonderful day, but I did really enjoy the golden clockwork lady. A close second would be the young woman with the large bird hat. πŸ™‚

    • What a lovely comment Judy, and it was a really lovely one hour visit….that’s about enough of large crowds for me πŸ™‚ The clockwork lady was amazing, still or whirling her hoops, and the lady with the the large bird hat was lovely. The birds are actually props for her puppet show, mounted on canes. The puppet play is a love story set on St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides….where there are lots of gulls and guillemots!

  13. Great set Seonaid – one day I must get there, the photo opportunities are so rich and varied. My eldest lives in Edinburgh and always inspires with his photos from the Fringe – http://www.flickr.com/photos/patrickdown/sets/72157594311290839/

    • Thanks, your sons photos are great, and what a large and varied mix. I worried I had posted too many, but looking at his gallery made me realise more is better with these kind of shots πŸ™‚ thanks for the link.

  14. restlessjo says:

    Wonderful captures! πŸ™‚

  15. boxertreiber says:

    Great atmosphere πŸ™‚

  16. Brenda says:

    Looks fun! I remember those living statues from Las Ramplas in Barcelona, too. My favorite was the lady fairy with the little girl. The expression on the lady fairy’s face was adorable. πŸ™‚

    • Brenda, I had a feeling you would appreciate the fairy shots πŸ™‚
      I feel a little guilty about this photo, let me explain. I too loved the connected expression on the fairy’s face and so clicked away taking a few shots, when I took my camera away from my eye and moved left slightly I realised the little girl was crying. She had become separated from her parents, and huge tears were rolling down her cheeks as the concerned fairy tried to find out where she had last seen her mum. A second yellow fairy appeared, and I got involved looking for a police officer. Suddenly her big brother appeared, “Hurry up , everyone’s waiting for you”, he announced before leading her off smiling, the tears long forgotten.
      I decided to use it because it doesn’t show her face. Another stander by came up and said, that must be every little girls dream to be rescued by a fairy!

      • Brenda says:

        Wow, that’s an amazing story. A fairy listened to her fears and kept her safe until her brother came for her. Wow! A perfect fairy tale, indeed! πŸ™‚ Brenda

  17. Gaye Abbott says:

    OH!! These are all so delightful there is no way that I could pick just one! I have one request though…can you flick your wand Seonaid and whisk me away to this magical realm?! Gaye

    • Oh Gaye, I wish my wand were working at the moment and I would happily oblige. It’s lovely to hear you like the shots, as they’re rater different from my usual style. Capturing moving shifting people in the midst of a big crowd is quite hard I discovered, so it’s a relief to hear they are enjoyable to look at πŸ™‚

  18. Colline says:

    I love festivals like this. They make for a very enjoyable day. Stunning photos – I love them. It was almost as if I were there

    • You would love Edinburgh at this time of year Colline, there are four festivals running concurrently over the next couple of weeks. There is so much happening, so much to see…..and so many people. I spent an hour here and headed for some tranquility:-)

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