City has its i on a new festival

EDINBURGH could be set to get yet another summer festival - this time dedicated to the internet.

Two Edinburgh University graduates are behind plans to launch iFest on to the already packed festival calendar next August.

They want to stage a programme of talks, workshops, performances and debates to "bridge the gap" between artists and the worldwide web.

The launch of iFest comes in the wake of the council-commissioned Thundering Hooves report which recommended that new festivals should be barred from launching in the Capital unless they demonstrate a clear "niche" appeal.

But council chiefs today indicated they may be prepared to support iFest.

It is the brainchild of Chris Cooke and Alan Ogilvie, who have covered the Edinburgh festivals on their Three Weeks website for the past 11 years.

Both based in London, Mr Cooke, 31, runs the UnLimited Media Group, while Mr Ogilvie, 30, graduated from the university's Informatics school in 1998 and has since specialised in website development and digital media.

The pair hope the festival will take place over two days to complement and work with the established festivals rather than compete directly.

Mr Cooke said: "We want to do something exciting and help performers to reach a new audience.

"We would like to work with theatre companies to put on interactive plays, where internet users can suggest alternative endings and change the plot.

"We also want to have a platform for debates with academics, and bring together lots of Edinburgh companies who are doing interesting things over the net."

Mr Cooke added: "By doing this in Edinburgh in August, half the people we want to reach will already be in town.

"We have ongoing relationships with a lot of the promoters and venues. There are very few connections between people on the technology side and those with cultural ambitions, and Edinburgh's so good for bringing them together."

Councillor Donald Anderson, the council's culture and tourism chief, said

"Edinburgh has a long history of being at the forefront of innovation in thought, art and science," he said.

"It is also the festival city, all of which makes it the perfect venue for an internet festival and I look forward to hearing more about this fascinating project."

An iFest website is now online at

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