Comment: Time for Edinburgh’s Festival to spread out

Edinburgh Festival Fringe madness on the Royal Mile. Picture: Alex Hewitt
Edinburgh Festival Fringe madness on the Royal Mile. Picture: Alex Hewitt
0
Have your say

The idea of spreading the festivals across the whole summer has certainly got the city talking.

Many people have thrown their hands up in horror at the thought of living with huge crowds for months on end rather than breathing a sigh of relief at the end of August. But that is unlikely to be the result of what Tommy Sheppard, the MP and former Fringe promoter, and the city’s new culture leader Donald Wilson are suggesting.

At the moment, the Fringe, International Festival, Book Festival, the Tattoo and the Edinburgh Art Festival are all crammed into three or four weeks in August. Spreading those events across three or four months instead will not see crowds to match those of August thronging to the city for the entire summer. Take any of those events other than the Fringe and stage it in July for example and it would surely attract more visitors to Edinburgh but nowhere near the level that we are seeing right now.

The hope is that the end result will be more visitors in total coming to Edinburgh, but without the massive August overload we have just now. There is nervousness about change, but the Festivals simply can’t keep growing without spreading out more, both geographically and in time.