The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (also known simply as “the Fringe”) is a major event which takes place every year. For 25 days in August, Edinburgh is completely transformed with thousands of performers flocking to the capital for a chance to showcase their work in one of hundreds of venues around the city centre.
The Fringe started in 1947 when a handful of theatre companies turned up uninvited to the official Edinburgh International Festival to perform for the large theatre crowds that had already gathered in the city. From these humble beginnings, the festival has now grown into the largest arts festival in the world and, in 2014, the Fringe featured a record number of 3,193 shows.
Even today, any act in the world can sign up to perform at the Fringe so you will always find an extremely varied mix of shows, from established celebrities and musicians to student theatre companies and aspiring artists. Popular acts featured in the festival include cabaret, comedy, dance, live music, theatre and circus.
This year the festival will take place from 5th – 29th August and you can see the full schedule here. Don’t forget you can also explore the best the festival has to offer with our English Plus Festivals course! We’ll also have the chance to visit the Fringe on our social programme throughout August.
Look out for these other festivals happening in August too!
This Wednesday we’re launching our very first inlingua Unplugged event! An eclectic mix of local artists are due to perform at our language centre on Shandwick Place with Tim Wylie playing the first set at 8pm. It’s the perfect time to relax and discover some great new music.
Did you know inlingua Edinburgh is a member of the prestigious Scotch Malt Whisky Society? We regularly host whisky tastings where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about Scotland’s famous whisky industry and try a few “drams” from different regions. The best part is, it’s free to all inlingua Edinburgh students as part of our social programme!
In the meantime, here’s a guide to help you understand the basics of single malt Scotch whisky!
What is single malt Scotch whisky?
Single malt Scotch whisky is simply a whisky that is made from malted barley, water and yeast. It must be produced from only one distillery and aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years before finally being bottled at a minimum alcohol volume of 40%.
Where do Scotch malt whiskies come from?
There are generally four major regions that produce single malt Scotch whiskies: Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside and Islands. The regions do not necessarily reflect the flavour but certain characteristics. For example, the Lowlands have historically produced lighter whiskies while Islay (from the Islands region) produces a smokier whisky.
What’s the difference between different malt whiskies?
Malt whiskies can vary dramatically thanks to the different approaches distilleries take to produce the final product. Variations can include using different copper pot stills and kinds of oak casks. For example, white American oak casks usually contain bourbon before being used to store whisky and gives notes of pine, cherry, vanilla and spice as a result. European oak casks usually contained sherry at one time and imparts hints of dried fruit, clove and orange. There are hundreds of other characteristics of oak casks which can give a whisky its unique style. It’s what makes whisky tasting so interesting!
Why does the age matter?
The age of a whisky reveals how long it has spent in a barrel, which has a big impact on its flavour. Another factor which contributes to the often higher cost of an older whisky is the whisky lost to evaporation during the ageing process. On average, a barrel loses around 3% of its whisky per year. This lost whisky is referred to as the “angel’s share” as it was believed that guardian angels watched over the barrel as the whisky aged and took a cut of the final product as a reward.
A ceilidh is a Scottish social event which involves traditional folk music and dancing. You will normally come across ceilidhs on special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. However, there are several venues across Edinburgh and Scotland which regularly host ceilidhs all year round such as Summerhall and the Ghillie Dhu.
Originally, ceilidh (pronounced ‘kay-lee’) was the Gaelic name for any sort of social gathering and included entertainment such as music and song performances, storytelling and poetry readings. Traditionally ceilidhs also encouraged courting and marriage prospects for young people and still play an important part in social affairs throughout Scotland today.
Nowadays, dancing is the main focus of a ceilidh. A band plays traditional Scottish music, usually composed of fiddles accordions and drums, and will often guide newcomers through the steps before each dance takes place. Popular dances include The Dashing White Sergeant and Strip the Willow which you can watch here:
Ceilidhs are a lot of fun and they play a regular part in our social programme, so you will have plenty of time to practice once you’re here!
Every week we organise our traditional pub night. We are happy to share these moments with our students. Here a picture from last Wednesday. Come and joins us tomorrow! Meet at 8pm at School with Alan.