24th August 1947

First Edinburgh International Festival opens

Edinburgh is known the world over for the Fringe Festival, which emerged from the Edinburgh International Festival of performing arts.

A team of Scottish runners had been dispatched from Edinburgh on 6 August on a route that would take them to London. Holding fiery crosses, their journey was “intended to rally Scotsmen all over the world to the Edinburgh Festival and Exhibition,” according to a 23 August report in The Sphere.

The runners covered the 407-mile route in relay, completing it in 47 and a half hours, at an average speed of eight and a half miles an hour. Another fiery cross had been flown to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and America, the latter “to the Scottish communities of New York, to appraise them of the gathering clans in Edinburgh”.

Post-war culture revival

The Festival was, in part, intended to revive high culture in the aftermath of the war, and was opened by the Colonne Orchestra, playing in Usher Hall. “At close there was no mistaking the profound impression the music had made, for many of us had forgotten this sort of excellence – the excitement of listening to so many strings and woodwinds and brasses, played with the percussion of virtuoso chamber music,” wrote a correspondent in the Aberdeen Press and Journal on the 25th.
The inaugural Festival ran until 13 September.



Other events that occured in August

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