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2nd August 2022

The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever was the most wonderfully strange day of my life

Jessica Hamilton attends The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever at Holyrood Park
The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever was the most wonderfully strange day of my life
Photo: Douglas Robertson.

Out on the wiley, windy moors, close to 300 Kate Bush fans joined together to dance to ‘Wuthering Heights’. To celebrate the artist’s 60th birthday – and existence in general – the annual event was held at Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park.

Photo: Douglas Robertson.

A sea of red dresses and brown wigs occupied the popular tourist spot for most of the day. Unsurprisingly, The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever attracted a lot of attention. A large crowd stayed to watch, astounded by what they saw, and media crews filmed throughout the day.

A passerby may have attributed the scene to Kate Bush’s recent revival. Her Stranger Things debut has offered a new lease of life to her 1985 hit ‘Running Up That Hill’ and has invited a new generation of fans to appreciate her art. But the origins are more random than you might expect. It began with a small Brighton performance group named ‘Shambush’ and has grown into a global phenomenon. This year, “Cathies” across the globe danced to ‘Wuthering Heights’. Red dresses could be spotted everywhere across Europe and Australia.

Photo: Douglas Robertson.

Leader of this year’s Edinburgh event, Elspeth Spalding explained the meaning behind it in more detail. Whilst it may have started small, it’s become a magical day of connection and remembrance. Edinburgh “Cathies” raised money for Maggies Centre and Marie Curie to honour the dancers who have been affected by cancer.

Elspeth has been involved with organising for 5 years, which might explain why it ran so smoothly. The day was neatly divided into sections. Registration (which wasn’t hard to find, given the amount of red dresses in the area), warmup, rehearsals, the performance, and finally, a happy birthday to Kate Bush.

Photo: Douglas Robertson.

Unlike Kate Bush, most people at the event were not trained in classical dance. Fortunately, the iconic number was taught step by step and can now be used as a party trick. The moves were clearly taught, but artistic license was encouraged – all dancers had a minute to relish the flow of their dresses in the picturesque field.

Artistic appreciation didn’t end with the dance. Candice Macallister created some beautiful designs which could be purchased on welcome as well as her website.

Kate Bush
Photo: Douglas Robertson.

To enjoy this day in its entirety, naturally, I had  to join in. Myself, amongst others, traveled far and wide to attend. And in my (totally unbiased) opinion, we weren’t disappointed. It was a joy to be surrounded by so many strangers who were connected by one thing. Our cheerful grins lasted throughout the day and will continue to make us smile.

The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever was the most beautifully strange day of my life, and I will cherish the memory forever. 

Whether Kate Bush herself knows about her dedicated day is unclear. In an interview prior to the event, Elspeth said “I think she must know”. But Kate’s reciprocation of love is not necessary; her fans will continue to dance.

Photo: Douglas Robertson.

If you missed the day, you can still contribute to the chosen charities, Maggies Centre and Marie Curie. Make sure to book on to next year’s The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever to embrace Kate Bush like never before!

Written by Jessica Hamilton.

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