That there are places in urban Scotland to which most of us would not willingly go during the day and certainly never visit at night is a fact which as a society and a political culture we have chosen not to confront. It is regrettable, we seem to feel, but it is part of our lives. We prefer not to cast too much light on the dark world of the ‘schemies’.
Twice before in my life I have seen Europe go dark and watched the doves of peace having their necks wrung. …”
Robert Kemp on the 21st Edinburgh Festival, from the Scottish Field 1967
Festivals are not like people. They never “grow up”. So perhaps it would be a mistake to make too much of the 21st Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama (to bestow upon it the full title which leaves out a lot of what happens), except that to say that its continuance for all of those years proves that the original idea was a durable one.
All those years…I , who happen to have seen something of them all, find it difficult to believe that among this years’ audience there will be those who were not born when the early Festivals took place. For them it may seem a venerable institution this Edinburgh Festival Society which some at first predicted would not last for more than a few years.