REVIEW – It didn’t rain on our parade

Ever since I was a nipper, the Edinburgh Festival Cavalcade has proudly paraded along Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare.

This year, thanks to the controversial tram-works ripping up the city centre, it took place for the first time in the slightly less central but equally impressive Holyrood Park.

As well as the change of venue, a couple of other things were threatening to dampen this event: one, literally, as the sky was black and it poured for 10 minutes shortly before the cavalcade was due to start. Also, it was reported that this year’s parade was going to be shorter, with less floats and acts as in previous years.

We needn’t have worried. This year’s cavalcade seemed to be as big and bold as ever, and was such a well-attended success that I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up permanently based here in years to come. The sun even came out (and not just the one on legs pictured above).

It was led off by the traditional ride-past of over 150 motorbikes, filling the air with fumes and engine noise, before the entire cast of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo marched past. Then, a mixture of Fringe performers and local community groups followed, each trying to outdo each other in terms of decoration, colour and music. The Ladyboys of Bangkok, another Edinburgh Festival fixture, as ever proved hard to beat on that score, but some of the community floats were also excellent.

Local pipe and marching bands from the Lothians then paraded along the road towards Meadowbank stadium where the parade ended this year, Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat providing an impressive backdrop to proceedings whichever side of the road you watched it from.

Another predicted blow to the Fringe was the lack of Fringe Sunday this year, due to lack of sponsorship. To somewhat make up for that, a kind of mini Fringe Sunday took place during and after the cavalcade in the park and car park outside Holyrood Palace. Fringe performers such as the Tao Drummers turned up, and street entertainers welcomed the chance to pitch up somewhere different from the Royal Mile for a change.

Overall, a great success in a well-suited new venue. In fact, it may actually be preferable to Princes Street: for once, I’m possibly even grateful for the tram-works.

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