Brian Ferguson: Edinburgh Festival Diary

Cyclist, seagulls and SuperDad kick off 2019's Edinburgh Festivals

Scottish star cyclist Danny MacAskill made his Fringe debut. Picture: Jane Barlow
Scottish star cyclist Danny MacAskill made his Fringe debut. Picture: Jane Barlow

If you reckoned that bus drivers had the most thankless task in Edinburgh spare a thought for the security team dispatched to one of the busiest spots in the city centre as part of the Summertime Streets shake-up for the festivals period.

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Closing the Lawnmarket has seemed a no-brainer for years due to the sheer volume of numbers heading to and from Edinburgh Castle. But that means bus drivers dropping people off on their way up Johnston Terrace have no choice but to go around the roundabout outside The Hub and back down the hill again.

The security guards on duty (seemingly growing in number and six at my latest count) have the unenviable but simple job of barking at anyone and everyone to “get off the road!” every couple of minutes.

l There has been an unmistakable and understandable clamour from venues to illustrate their environmental credentials in the early days of the Fringe – although it may take more than that to re-balance the sea of posters, flyers and hoardings which appear to be on every possible corner of the Old Town.

The Pleasance’s Anthony Alderson has been the most evangelical venue boss so far, with a rousing speech peppered with references to ever-changing Edinburgh climate and a touching tale of how his daughter had drawn up rules for their hours in order to reduce waste.

Following stunt cyclist Dez Maarsen on to the stage, Alderson made the best entrance at the Fringe so far, astride one of Edinburgh’s ubiquitous Just Eat Bikes, which right now seem like the quickest and easiest way of getting around town. Judging by his shaky efforts, there’s no danger of him troubling Maarsen or Scottish superstar Danny MacAskill, who made his Fringe debut on the Meadows this weekend.

Brilliant though the LA Philharmornic Orchestra were, it was the unexpected accompaniment of squawking and swooping seagulls who almost stole the show, particularly during the soaring anthems from Jurassic Park and ET. That honour went to “SuperDad”, as he was dubbed on Twitter.

He sat through the concert in a full Superman suit patiently waiting for his big moment. John Williams’ signature tune echoing around the ground was his cue to whisk his “SuperGirl” daughter off around the arena.