Summer Festivals 2012: The weird and wonderful
Some of the more eccentric festivals you can take part in this summer
Festival of the Erotic Arts
Where: Various venues in Edinburgh 22–24 June, erotic-arts.co.uk
Price: £40 (£35) weekend ticket; single event tickets available.
Line-up: Kabarett with MC Ophelia Bitz, Torture Garden Edinburgh, Beginners’ Fusion Bondage Workshop, Sex Blogging talk, multi-media cabaret with ArtWank!
Unless there’s a mudslide at T in the Park, this new festival looks to be the dirtiest of the year. Bambi-eyed beginners are in safe hands, though, with an elementary bondage workshop providing a practical grounding in at-home kink (safety scissors provided). Elsewhere there’s a spread of erotic exhibitions, talks, films, spoken word, sexy arts and crafts and, for the more adventurous, a rare visit from fetish club night Torture Garden. We, of course, will be going only for the lectures – out of a purely academic interest, you understand. (Charlotte Runcie)
Ballater Victoria Week
Where: Various venues across Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Sat 4–Sun 12 Aug, victoriaweek.org
Line-up: Aboyne Hip Hop Juniors, Guarana Drummers, An Evening of Clairvoyance with Maureen Smith
This annual celebration, ostensibly held to commemorate Queen Victoria’s accession, features a range of community-focused events which are eclectic to say the least, including a scarecrow competition and parade, a duck race, mudpie making and messy play sessions, a ghost tour, an evening of clairvoyance and a pet show, with prizes for Waggiest Tail, Most Like Owner and Most Regal Expression. Quite what all this has to do with Queen Vic, we’re not sure, but it sounds like a riot. The website features a portrait of the august monarch that, when hovered over, bears the legend: ‘Be Amused!’ Who are we to disobey? (Niki Boyle)
Where: Various venues in Irvine, 11–22 Aug, irvineayrshire.org/marymass
Line-up: Continental market, Benny Gallagher, The Hot Seats, folk music festival
Irvinites amass again for Ayrshire’s enviably wild celebration of its cultural roots. With traditional exhibitions, costumes and events, the festival’s ancestry dates back to the 17th century. The annual ‘sashing of the Queen and her four Marys’ (a kind of Stuart period prom queen coronation) begins the occasion on 11 Aug. Be sure not to miss out on the often fiercely controversial open domino competition (12 Aug) and duck race (13 Aug). Though the highlight is, of course, the greasy pole – a competition in which men attempt to climb the eponymous lubricated totem to retrieve a ham stuck to the top. Competitors will be hoping to emulate the Roger Federer of greasy pole climbing, Burt Dickson, who, according to the Marymass website, ‘scaled the pole so many times they thought of giving him the pole and the ham to keep’. (Andrew Latimer)