Edinburgh's Festivals: A Biography by David Pollock (Author)
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Edinburgh's Festivals: A Biography by David Pollock (Author)

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In August 1947, an émigré Austrian opera impresario launched the Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama to heal the scars of the Second World War through a celebration of the arts. At the same time, a socialist theatre group from Glasgow and other amateur companies protested their exclusion from the festival by performing anyway, inventing the concept of 'fringe' theatre.

Now the annual celebration known collectively as the Edinburgh Festival is the largest arts festival in the world, incorporating events dedicated to theatre, film, art, literature, comedy, dance, jazz and even military pageantry. It has launched careers – from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in Beyond the Fringe to Phoebe Waller-Bridge with Fleabag – mirrored the political and social mood of its times, shaped the city of Edinburgh around it and welcomed a huge all-star cast, including Orson Welles, Grace Kelly, Yehudi Menuhin and Mark E Smith's The Fall and many many more.

This is its story.