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Festival of Sport starts today – WHALE Arts Agency Open Day – Festival of Politics – Edinburgh International Book Festival pick of the day – Edinburgh Festival Fringe pick of the day


Edinburgh’s Festival of Sport starts today with events at The Royal Commonwealth Pool and at Meadowbank and runs till 8 September 2013. This is your big chance to try out a new sport at many locations across the city with many free events in the programme.

‘Sport with the Stars’ at Meadowbank (from 1–5pm) and ‘Sport with a Splash’ at the Royal Commonwealth Pool (5.30–7.30pm) will provide an opportunity for people of all ages to try new sports and meet local athletes gearing up for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Everyone who signs up for Sport with the Stars prior to the event will be entered into a draw to win a Team Sky cycling shirt, signed by Tour de France winner Chris Froome.

Sports clubs are the foundation of the Festival of Sport and each year they open their doors, put on competitions and encourage the local community to give their sport a try.

The packed programme will feature 30 sports and over 100 individual events, including the first ever Edinburgh Sports Conference, the City’s annual Sports Awards and SkyRide Edinburgh, which returns for another year on 7 September.

The City’s Festival and Events Champion, Councillor Steve Cardownie, expects the countdown to next year’s Commonwealth Games to create an extra buzz around the Festival.

He said:- “With less than a year to go to Glasgow 2014, and tickets for the Games now on sale, I hope people will feel motivated to get involved. It’s fitting that Saturday’s launch events are taking place in Edinburgh’s original Commonwealth venues and, indeed, the Royal Commonwealth Pool will once again play host to the diving competitions next year.

“The Festival of Sport is a bumper fortnight of sport for everyone to get involved in. It’s the perfect opportunity to try new sports, find out about the sports clubs in your area and, of course, all activities are free. I’d encourage everyone to get out there and try something new.”

John Comiskey, Edinburgh Leisure’s Chief Executive, said: “Edinburgh Leisure is hugely excited to be hosting the ‘Sport with the Stars’ and ‘Sport with a Splash’ events this weekend. They offer the perfect opportunity for people of all abilities and ages to try something new, have fun and benefit from becoming more active.

“The Festival allows us to show off not only the great sporting venues we have in the City but also demonstrates the huge range of sports that are available. I would really encourage as many people as possible to come along, see what it’s all about, have a go and have some fun.”

Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, said: “With the theme around “One year to go”, the Games for Scotland programme encourages communities across Scotland to feel part of the excitement building around the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Thousands of people are able to join in this fantastic opportunity to celebrate our modern and vibrant culture, helping to deliver a legacy that Scots everywhere can feel proud of.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, said: “We are delighted to be working with Edinburgh in the delivery of what promises to be a fantastic event. Sport with the Stars and Sport with a Splash epitomises what the Games for Scotland programme has been designed to accomplish; inspiring, motivating and engendering pride amongst the people of Scotland.

“With one year to go, the diverse programme of sport and dance events taking place across the country as part of the Games for Scotland project are undoubtedly extending the legacy of the Games far beyond the host city to the benefit of communities throughout Scotland.”


WHALE Arts are having an Open Day today 24 August, from 11:00 – 4:00pm.
Bring the kids – Puppet Show at 11.30, Bouncy Castle, Face Painting, Art and Film Making Workshops. And for Adults – Craft Workshop, Art and Craft Sale, Cakes and Teas, Live Music, Drama and Dance performances. Come and join in the FUN! www.whalearts.co.uk/events


Second day of debate, contemplation and discussion at the Festival of Politics

The second day  of the Festival of Politics today will feature thought-provoking sessions on the constitutional future of Scotland.

The day will start with The Future of Europe and Small Nations, where Professor Charlie Jeffrey will be one of the panellists who will answer questions about the power and influence of the European Union.

Independence and Economic Issues will be chaired by respected economist Jeremy Peat, with contributions from Executive Editor of the Scotsman Bill Jamieson and Professor David Bell.

Culture and Broadcasting, being held in association with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, will consider the impact of constitutional change on Scotland’s culture. Chaired by Magnus Linklater there will be contributions from journalist Ruth Wishart and former Director of BBC Scotland James Boyle.

Public Attitudes to our Constitutional Future will question people’s attitudes towards independence. With contributions from Professor John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde, the session will be chaired by journalist Iain Macwhirter.

Identity and community will be explored with a screening of The Happy Lands, which focuses on Fife’s mining communities around the great strike in 1926. Former First Minister, the Rt Hon Henry McLeish will explore the issues with panellists including film director Robert Rae and journalist Polly Toynbee.

Linda Fabiani MSP will chair a session on Politics and Art, asking what happens when art challenges the political status quo.

The Scottish Youth Theatre will present Now’s The Hour which will be performed by young people from across Scotland, as they share their fears, aspirations, questions and views on one of the biggest decisions in Scotland’s history.

The café bar programme will be headlined by Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowall. David Hershaw will start the lively programme of music and comedy at 12.30pm and the programme will include performances from the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland Jazz Quartet and modern choir InChorus. Political comedian Steve Richards previews the start of the political year and makes predictions on what is likely to happen in the Referendum and the General Election and invites the audience to do the same.



Edinburgh International Book Festival pick of the day just has to be Neil Gaiman at 3:00pm. Described as:-“Discover the distinctive genius of Neil Gaiman and his latest story, Fortunately, the Milk. Neil’s books for young readers never shy away from the odd, surreal or quirky which makes them attractive for stage and film adaptation. Join Neil and Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director at the Royal Court, to talk wolves, goldfish, graveyards and very forgetful dads. Oh and get a sneak preview of the latest book, which isn’t officially published until September.”

Booking details here.



Edinburgh Festival Fringe pick of the day is the show we reviewed a couple of weeks ago now – The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning.

“This Edinburgh debut production from National Theatre Wales, where the protagonist, hailed either as a cyber-hero or having taken a mighty Wiki-leak in Uncle Sam’s face, is lent further frisson with the furore and farce regarding Edwards Snowden’s latest exposures of spookery.”

Booking details here.

Our main photo today shows Fringe performers touting for business on the High Street. (Photo by Martin McAdam)