The capital’s bustling George Street is to be turned into a calm, leafy oasis during the Fringe, thanks to green innovations by The Famous Spiegeltent, the Assembly Rooms Fringe and the Edinburgh International Book Festival – including a new bicycle hire scheme.
As well as working independently to make their venues as environmentally friendly as possible, the three pillars of the festival have joined forces with Cycle Scotland to launch a bike rental service from their sites, so people can move easily and quickly between their venues, as well as further afield.
George Street is being closed between Frederick and Hanover Streets for the duration of the Fringe, so The Famous Spiegeltent can be built opposite the newly refurbished Assembly Rooms. And, in keeping with the building’s sophisticated new look, organisers are surrounding The Famous Spiegelterrace with lush yew hedging to create a relaxing urban garden, mirroring the tranquil atmosphere at the Book Festival’s leafy Charlotte Square Gardens site.
Live classical and acoustic music will be performed on the Aperol stage in The Famous Spiegelterrace’s bar area and this will also feature short readings by authors from the Book Festival.
Spiegelmaestro, David Bates, Director of The Famous Spiegeltent, said: “For 16 years, The Famous Spiegeltent has been the eye in the festival storm. Now it has become the oasis of calm in the middle of the city – a green, chilled-out environment like no other.
“Linked with beautiful Charlotte Square Gardens by bicycles on demand, this will be a very cool way to experience the festival. You can relax at The Famous Spiegelterrace with a book, newspapers, coffee or a spritzer and the festival will come to you.”
Andrew Coulton, Administrative Director of Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “The Book Festival has been committed to reducing its environmental impact for several years, in particular recently introducing a number of innovations on the festival site that have allowed us to significantly reduce energy consumption and waste to landfill.
“I’m very pleased that this year we’ll be working in partnership with Cycle Scotland, the Assembly Rooms Fringe and The Famous Spiegeltent to provide a bike rental service. For audiences, cycling around our compact festival city not only reduces their carbon footprint, but will allow them to avoid the inevitable stresses of congestion and parking and instead take in the unique festival atmosphere and World Heritage Site.”
Tommy Sheppard, Director of Assembly Rooms Fringe, said: “I think we’ve got the greenest project ever undertaken in the Fringe. We have recycling schemes for our waste, the bike hire scheme, and the perimeter of The Famous Spiegelterrace will be built using living yew hedge in over 200 wooden box planters. Not only will this look much nicer than the ugly aluminium building-site fences that other venues use, but it means it can be used again and again.
You can read our feature on the new Assembly Rooms.
We absolutely love the Auld Reekie Roller Girls (AARG) and their love of roller derby.
There are two Roller Derby events to attend this August at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Sports centre.
Saturday 4th August, 2pm. First off is ARRG’s all-star Twisted Thistles team, going mano a mano with Cardiff’s ferocious Tiger Bay Brawlers. It’ll be a bruiser of a bout as these two strong teams attempt to outfox, outskate and outhit the other. The Twisted Thistles recently played in Helsinki and Berlin, building up their bout experience and emerging as a close-knit team – they’ll be sure to give Tiger Bay a run for their money. Who will emerge victorious? We asked Thistles captain Crazylegs how the team is feeling about going head to head with the Tiger Bay Brawlers: ‘We’re ready for action! The Twisted Thistles have been training hard, and our experiences in Europe have taught us a lot. We’ve been working on endurance, tactics and technique and we’re looking forward to bringing this to the track.’ Whether you’re supporting the Scots or the Welsh, it’ll be sure to be a fast-paced and furious example of roller derby at its finest. Have a look at the event page for further information.
Saturday 18th August, 2pm. The Cannon Belles, Auld Reekie Roller Girls’ team of rising stars, battle it out with Dublin Roller Girls in a full-on Celtic clash. The Cannon Belles are fresh from a recent win against Kent Roller Girls, and will be sure to put up a furious fight in an effort to continue their winning streak. Dublin Roller Girls have had plenty of practice over the past few months, bouting against teams from London, Manchester, Helsinki and Glasgow, but how will they fare against Auld Reekie? Have a look at the event page for further information.
Clued-up commentators will keep you in the loop about what’s happening on track, so don’t worry if you’re a derby novice. You’ll also have the chance to buy our t-shirts, badges and stickers to show your support for Edinburgh’s one and only roller derby league. There’ll be stalls galore in our ‘vendors’ village’ – be sure not to miss the famous cakes, lovingly made by the Auld Reekie Roller Girls community. Whether you’re a derby virgin or a roller veteran, don’t miss the chance to see some of the top teams in the UK and Ireland compete for victory. You won’t have seen anything like this!
Tickets for each event only cost £5 (plus booking fee) when bought online or £7 on the door. Children aged 14 and under go free.
Following a £9.3 million restoration, Assembly Rooms Edinburgh opened its doors for the first time in 18 months, to reveal the results of a magnificent refurbishment. With over 500,000 sparkling crystals, historically accurate gilding and half a tonne of exclusive Zoffany damask curtain fabric used in the project, the Assembly Rooms has undergone a breathtaking transformation.
Over 250,000 man hours have gone into the project, which has seen plasterwork restored, ornate finishes repaired and 25 chandeliers reconditioned. The entire building has been renovated, with many local skilled craftspeople employing traditional methods to recreate and revitalise the iconic Georgian features which make the venue so well-loved.
No other building of its kind exists in such a complete state in the British Isles in public ownership, and this refurbishment has seen the A-listed building restored to its 18th century splendour. As well as the aesthetic enhancements, considerable investment in technology has introduced substantial acoustic and lighting improvements, with state-of-the-art sound systems and flexible seating to transform the venue to host a much broader range of events. Wi-Fi has been installed throughout the venue as well as new heating and ventilation, a large passenger lift, soundproofing, digital signage and better circulation space.
Commenting on the re-opening of the building, Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture and Leisure Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Today’s official reopening is an extremely special day in the Assembly Rooms’ history. The refurbishment over the last 18 months has breathed new life into this uniquely important venue, combining sensitive and significant repairs and renovation with fully modernised events facilities fit for the 21st century. The Assembly Rooms has been restored not just to its former glory but to where it belongs – at the very heart of Edinburgh life, all year round.”
Shona Clelland, General Manager of Assembly Rooms Edinburgh added: “This has been such an exciting project and the whole team is very proud of the work that’s been done – it’s everything we all set out to deliver and more. Everyone involved hopes that the people of Edinburgh are as delighted as we are to have the venue back.”
Steeped in history, the Assembly Rooms has been entertaining Edinburgh for over 230 years. It has hosted visits by the Queen and other members of the Royal family; literary figures from Dickens to Bill Bryson have held readings in its rooms and, as an Edinburgh Fringe venue, comedians and performers from Jack Dee to Lee Evans have come to prominence within its walls.
The Assembly Rooms can now move confidently into the future and offer Edinburgh’s citizens and visitors alike the best in events and customer experience.
The Assembly Rooms are also the home of the new Assembly Rooms Fringe for 2012 (not to be confused with the Assembly Festival).
The Assembly Rooms can be found at 54 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2LR. Telephone 0131 220 3438.
Suitable for disabled?
Yes the entire building is accessible now, including the bathrooms.
The Foodies Festival returns to Edinburgh for the UK’s largest celebration of food and drink this August. Food-lovers are invited to feast on the vast array of culinary activities taking place over the 3-day event including chef demonstrations and food masterclasses in the beautiful Inverleith Park. The festival is suitable for all the family and makes a great day out.
Top chefs including Scottish Chef of the Year 2011 Neil Forbes from Cafe St Honoré, Great British Menu contestant Mark Greenaway, Mattia Camorani from Cucina at Hotel Missoni and Michelin-starred Jeff Bland from The Balmoral Hotel will cook signature dishes live in the Chefs’ Theatre and explain how amateur cooks can prepare the same dishes at home.
As well as culinary lessons from the experts, Fringe acts Lucy Porter, Tim Vine and Stephen K Amos will be donning chef hats and giving comical demonstrations.
The popular Food and Drinks Masterclasses invite visitors to be amongst the first in the UK to sample new products, brush up their skills as well as learn new tips and techniques. There are 100 places available at each session, where experts will be sharing their knowledge and giving out samples. Over the course of the weekend there will be classes from Hendricks Gin, delicious delicacies with Caledonian Oysters, East Lothian veg with The Gardener’s Cottage, wonderful wines with expert Charles Metcalfe and traditional Jamaican street food with The Backyard Company.
Food-loving film fans can enjoy a unique culinary experience at the Food of Love Cinema, where the food featured in each movie will be served to the audience. The programme includes pizza with Moonstruck, pasta with Goodfellas, and sushi with Tampopo.
New to Foodies this year is the Children’s Cookery Theatre, where youngsters will be encouraged to cook up a storm. On Saturday and Sunday there will be all sorts of gastronomic experiments going on to keep the children occupied.
Also new is the City Beach – complete with sand, deckchairs and beach-huts selling ice-cream, tea and cocktails; Street Food Avenue – serving quality dishes from around the globe and the Great Taste Market – selling award-winning goods from the UK’s top producers.
Other features for food-lovers include restaurant tents, bars, a producers’ market and an exhibitor’s area.
Throughout the weekend there will be live music on the entertainment stage, including Fringe Festival performers The Blues Brothers and The Rat Pack.
Friday 10th August, 11am – 8pm
Saturday 11th August, 10am – 8pm
Sunday 12th August, 11am – 8pm
Visit the Edinburgh Foodies website which has all the information you need including schedules of the Chef’s Theatre and Masterclasses.
Tickets for Foodies Edinburgh are available via this link or by calling 0844 995 1111.
Three-day ticket £18 (concession £15). One-day ticket £10 (concession £8). VIP tickets cost £38 and include a 2-course meal with champagne in the VIP tent, a goody bag and priority VIP seats in the Theatres and Masterclasses.
Entry is free for children aged 16 and under accompanied by an adult.
Price includes entry into the Chefs’ Theatre, Food Masterclass, Drinks Masterclass and Kids’ Cookery Theatres and they must be registered for upon arrival (first come first served).
We have one pair of VIP tickets to give away (worth a whopping £72) and 5 pairs of 3-day tickets to give away in our easy competition worth £36 per pair!
All you have to is answer this easy question:
Where is the Edinburgh Foodies Festival being held this year?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘FOODIES’ in the subject line and the answer in the email.
The closing date for this competition is at 5pm Friday 20th July 2012.
Winners will be picked at random after the closing time and will be notified by email on how to collect the winning tickets. Al decisions are final. Good luck!
From 2pm – 4pm there will be music, dance, costumes, and street entertainment in all shapes and sizes.
This will take place on Princes Street and in Princes Street Gardens. There will be samba from Brazil; the top New Orleans Brass Band; funky beats from Italy; carnival dancing from Trinidad; scratching DJ’s, pipe band, accordion bands, and brass bands with rock n’roll attitude; there are performers from Martinique, the Bahamas, Germany, England, as well as from Edinburgh.
Over in Rose Street from 1pm – 4pm, the street will be brimming with fun and dynamic street performers.
Musicians, jugglers, mime artists, trick cyclists will strut their stuff – the perfect opportunity to bask in the sun sipping a cold beer or to visit one of the unique shops.
Sunday Market in the Grassmarket
Running simultaneously in the Grassmarket, will be a Sunday Market, from 2 to 5pm, accompanied by free live jazz and blues from Seaside Skiffle and Rosie Blue – presented in association with The Grassmarket Area Traders Association.
Further information can be found on the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues festival website.
Volunteers are also needed for the festival.
The Signet Library is an ideal location to meet friends or colleagues during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with its impressive surroundings and beautiful architectural details.
On the back of rave reviews for its first Fringe run in 2011, Edinburgh’s pop-up Pommery Champagne Cafe Bar will once again bring festival fizz and sparkle to the iconic Signet Library.
Making a triumphant return to the festival city, the Cafe Bar will be open daily throughout August from 11am until late. And with the stunning Signet Library throwing open its doors for three weeks only, this is a unique opportunity for visitors to experience a true taste of Edinburgh’s impressive history.
Teas, coffees and light snacks will be served in the morning making this venue suitable for all. This pop-up bar is set to be perfect meeting place before or after a Fringe show or a performance of the Edinburgh Tattoo.
As well as champagne, cocktails and afternoon tea, the Pommery bar will also be serving locally sourced, seasonal food including whole fresh lobster and beetroot smoked salmon.Tours of the magnificent venue return for 2012 (Monday to Friday only) and places must be booked in advance.
New for 2012
New for 2012 in the Pommery Bar is the opportunity to attend one of the Pommery Champagne Tutored Tasting events as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.
One of Edinburgh’s hottest tickets in town – Burgher Burger will be popping up for one night only on the 21st August. Normally based in a greasy spoon cafe, the guerilla dining event is ‘going posh’ for this one-off event. The head chef from Heritage Portfolio, Brian Canale will be cooking the three-course meal on the evening. Each course will be matched with glasses of champagne. Tickets for the event will go on sale on 1st August and are £50 per person.
The Pop-up Champagne Bar will be at the Signet Library from 3rd August through to 27th August 2012 and will be open from 11am until late.
You can reserve a table now on 0131 225 0651
Check their website for deals on afternoon teas and champagne.
Suitable for disabled? Yes the bar area is on the ground level and completely accessible and there is a bathroom for disabled use on the ground floor.