Edinburgh Festival Fringe unveils official tartan

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe unveiled its own tartan on Sunday to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the world's largest arts festival.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe unveiled its own tartan. Picture: Alan Simpson

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The new tartan pays tribute to the eight groups who performed on the fringe of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947.

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The special design includes a “denim blue” block with 70 threads to represent the Scottish capital and 70 years, and eight bright yellow lines symbolising the Fringe flame ignited by the original eight groups.

When combined with the reds and greens, the colours come together to reflect “the bright, bold, creative spirit of the Fringe”.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “I am delighted to present the Edinburgh Festival Fringe tartan in this special year for the Fringe as we celebrate 70 years of defying the norm.

“This colourful and exciting tartan represents our extraordinary festival and the special design reflects the bright, bold, creative spirit of the Fringe, the wonderful, historic city of Edinburgh and the eight theatre companies who ignited the Fringe flame back in 1947.”

The tartan, woven in Scotland by Ingles Buchan (Textiles) Ltd., was created by Scotland’s ‘Tartan Ambassador’ Brian Wilton MBE, one of the world’s leading tartan designers.

Mr Wilton said: “I am extremely proud to have contributed to the 70th anniversary celebrations of such a global phenomenon as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

“And how appropriate to celebrate it with tartan - the quintessential design of Scotland, the home of the world’s most exciting and unique arts festival.

“The tartan not only encapsulates elements of the Fringe’s history but also pays tribute to its defiant nature. It was a pleasure and an honour to be involved.”

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe began when eight groups arrived in Edinburgh hoping to perform at the newly formed Edinburgh International Festival but were refused entry to the programme.

Undeterred, they went ahead and performed on the fringe of the Festival anyway.

The Fringe is now an open access festival where, in the spirit of the original eight, no one is denied entry, making it the largest platform in the world for creative freedom.

Last year, the Fringe issued nearly 2.5million tickets for 50,266 performances of 3269 shows in 294 venues covering theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

Several famous names have established their careers at the Fringe. In the 1960s, members of the Monty Python team appeared in student productions, as did Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson with the 1981 Cambridge Footlights.

Others who appeared include the late Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, Rowan Atkinson, Steven Berkoff, Jo Brand, Ben Elton, Eddie Izzard and Tim Minchin, while shows that have debuted at the Fringe have included Stomp, Black Watch and Jerry Springer: The Opera.

A range of products featuring the unique tartan design, including ties, scarves, purses, wallets and luggage tags, is available from the edfringe shop at 180 High Street, Edinburgh, and online.