Category Archives: Fringe Festival

Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Busking

Did you know that you have to audition to busk in London? And that in order to busk in Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall you must have a YouTube account?

Fiddle player Faith Grossnicklaus busking on Royal Mile, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Fiddle player Faith Grossnicklaus busking on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

In Edinburgh, you don’t require a license to busk provided no payment is requested. During the Fringe Festival, the Fringe Society manages two areas for street performers. The Royal Mile and the Mound Precinct. You need to apply for busking spots. Each slot lasts 30 minutes. 5 minutes to introduce yourself and 25 minutes to perform.

Fiddle player Faith Grossnicklaus busking on Royal Mile, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Since she had noticed I was taking photographs, she gave me her business card asking me to send her a “few good ones”. Since I very much enjoyed the performance, I did oblige.

The only act I photographed during this year’s festival featured a violinist (Faith) and her accordionist partner (Strangely). Most of the time, I simply listen to the music.

Strangely busing on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Strangely gave me the impression of a rather jovial character.

Strangely busking on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Some musician remain stone faced while playing, but definitely not Strangely.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Street Performers

If you spend some time on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, you are likely to witness some very interesting shows. One afternoon, I noticed a big crowd was gathered not too far from the Tron Kirk, and judging by the noises that crowd was making, there obviously was a good show in progress.

I had missed the beginning of Able Mable’s Royal Mile show, and when I got there, she was about to make a child disappear.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Able Mable Royal Mile show

Able Mable is introducing to the crowd the girl (bottom right of the photo) she is about to make disappear.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Able Mable show girl disappearance

The child is now inside the bag, and by casting a spell, Able Mable is going to make the girl disappear

Since the girl was just taken from the audience, she’s not quite up to speed as to what to do, and some hilarity ensues. It is hard to describe, you’re just going to have to go to one of Able Mable’s show to understand what I mean.

In the next part of her act, Able Mable showcased her balance and juggling skills. When I climb a latter, I insist it leans against something immovable. But Able Mable doesn’t need that. I’m not going to even try.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Able Mable Royal Mile show, balancing on a ladder

Up on a ladder, she’s all smiles.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Able Mable Royal Mile show, balancing at the top of a ladder

She’s about to ask someone from the crowd to throw her some juggling pins

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Able Mable Royal Mile show juggling on a ladder without any support

Juggling on top of a ladder that doesn’t have any support. Bravo!

Able Mable demonstrated some rather impressive skills. One aspect of her show that is difficult to convey in a blog post such as this is that she is extremely witty and funny. If you ever have an opportunity to see her perform, don’t miss it. You’ll have a great time.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival – More Portraits

During the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, you can have a truly multicultural experience. From UK based comedians to theatre and dance companies from Korea and Japan.

In August on the Royal Mile, you can see amazing costumes from all over the world. The lovely young lady in the photograph below was quite eager to pose for the camera.

Portrait of young Asian lady wearing a red dress and black hat

When I saw the trees behind her, I knew their colour would nicely contrast with the red coloured clothes she was wearing. I positioned myself and waited for her to notice me and smile at the camera.

Portrait of young Asian lady wearing a red dress and black hat

She was very playful and gave me some wonderful portraits. Who ever you are, thank you for this brief but fruitful collaboration.

Some of the head gear worn by these artists and performers was simply stunning. The photographic challenge, as always during the busy Fringe Festival, was to find relatively clean backgrounds in order to avoid distracting the viewer from the beautiful head gear.

Portrait of young Asian lady beautiful white head ornaments

This young lady immediately caught my attention. I must say I took a lot of pictures of her, because I really wanted to make sure I had at least a good one.

Young Asian man wearing red head gear

I don’t know what theatre company he belongs to, but you got to admire the elaborate costume.

And the Royal Mile just wouldn’t be the Royal Mile without a King:

Young Asian man in a King costume

The sunlight was coming from my right side and so I had to wait for my subject to turn his head towards the light to avoid distracting shadows on his face.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Portraits

Most of the characters promoting shows on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe festival are quite colourful. Literally and figuratively. For example, how often have you come across a smiling zombie?

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 zombie

I can’t remember which show this young lady was promoting, but she was very cooperating and gave me a nice portrait.

But not everyone liked to pose in a friendly manner. I got a number of rather scary looks.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival scary bald orange and white character

While sitting on a kerb, this gentleman gave me some of his best scary impressions, You got to love the makeup.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015  Feline Tiger makeup

He was part of a group of theatre students from London if I remember correctly. Very friendly bunch, even though you couldn’t tell from this photograph!

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 man in top hat with blood on his face

I guess I’d be grumpy too if I had blood all over my face.

While the scary/zombie theme is quite popular, at the Fringe Festival, you are just as likely to meet some real gentlemen.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 Distinguished Gentlemen by Out Cast Theatre

The show “Distinguished Gentlemen” was described as an outrageous tale of lust and lunacy.

Well, may be not! In any event, the sight of a man in a wedding dress promoting the show “This Much (or an act of violence against marriage)” from the Moving Dust Company definitely cheered me up. Only at the Fringe!

Man in wedding dress promoting the show "This Much" by the Moving Dust company

I was not going to pass on this wonderful photo opportunity. The real challenge was getting a nice expression from the subject with no people n the background.

Statues are also an integral part of the Fringe Festival, and they come from all over the UK.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 Lutrek Statues and Clowns

Lutrek Statues and Clowns are based in Bristol and London. They travel all over the UK and the World, according to their website.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 statue

Patience really paid off. I had seen this statue a couple of times as he was leaving the scene, and couldn’t manage to get a good pic. But the third time proved to be a charm.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 statue

The colour match between the statue and the background is what caught my attention here.

And no festival would really be complete without some clowns. I was really drawn to the colourful outfit.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 clown

I really like his outfit. Especially the hat. Don’t you?

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Portraits – Black & White

Every August in Edinburgh, Scotland is festival time. And the Fringe Festival gets bigger every year it seems. According to the official stats, this year’s festival consisted of 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues. An estimated 2,298,090 tickets were issued. Not too bad for a city of about 500,000 inhabitants.

During the day, artists promote their shows on the Royal Mile, wearing their stage attire. There are also countless busking musicians and statues. It is quite a sight and replete with photographic opportunities. Most of the characters are quite colourful, but that will be the topic of the next blog posts. For a few of the pictures, it was clear to me that they would look better in (toned) black & white.

Seymour Stiffs the Undertaker posing for the camera during the Edinburgh Fringe festival

Seymour Stiffs, the gregarious undertaker, was more than willing to pose for the camera

Seymour Stiffs the Undertaker photographed on the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe festival

I hung around for a while after taking the previous photograph, and I was able to take a candid portrait of Seymour, in a more reflective pose.

During the Fringe festival, you’ll see some most unusual things. Like the gentleman below in a wedding dress dancing and handing out leaflets. He belongs to the “Moving Dust” company, based in London.  This “emerging company is set up to create ground-breaking  performance projects”, according to their website. I have no problem believing that!

Actor from company Moving Dust promoting their show This Much on the Royal Mile during the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh

Gentleman from “Moving Dust” promoting the show “This Much (or an act of violence towards the institution of marriage)

Not everyone in a strange attire on the Royal Mile is promoting a show. Many just pose with tourists in exchange for money, like the Alien Monster below and Darth Vader.

Alien Monster on the Royal Mile during the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh

Not sure if this character is from a movie or not, but I found him on the Royal Mile on a few occasions.

Darth Vader on the Royal Mile during the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh

I guess no self-respecting summer festival would be complete without an apparition of Lord Vader.