Comment: Opportunity for businesses on Edinburgh’s fringe

Vogrie Country Park. File picture: Phil Wilkinson
Vogrie Country Park. File picture: Phil Wilkinson
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ONE of the wonders of the Fringe is the way it appears to have actually defied the laws of physics in recent years.

There is no way that anything – be it liquid, solid or an anarchic, amorphous festival like the Fringe – can continue to expand endlessly within a limited space. But it is a feat that it seems to pull off with relish each successive year. Just when we think that there can’t possibly be any more meeting halls, hotel foyers, spare pieces of pavement or telephone boxes which can be turned into theatrical venues – or accommodation for performers and visitors – some more are found from somewhere.

It seems logical that this expansion can’t go on forever. The Fringe has taken over new parts of the city centre, most notably George Street, with great success. Space for public performance is being planned in to major new developments such as the St James Quarter revamp, providing more opportunities for even more shows in years to come. But there will nevertheless be a point where the city reaches saturation point.

What happens then? Well, the answer might just be that we export parts of the festival outside of Edinburgh, to Midlothian, East Lothian and so on. The process is already under way with the Fringe by the Sea events staged in North Berwick.

The huge campsite planned for Vogrie Country Park is a natural extension of that. Of course the campers will be coming to see the main events in Edinburgh and will want to savour the full experience of street entertainers on the Royal Mile and so on. But at the same time, as community leader Bill Barron recognises, what an opportunity for businesses in Pathhead and other nearby communities to attract these visitors on their days off. After a few days traipsing through the Festival crowds, who wouldn’t fancy a more relaxed day exploring the alterative attractions on their doorstep?