Leader: ‘The key is to develop and nurture events’

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Edinburgh’s festivals had some pretty impressive competition this year. The doom and gloom merchants were predicting a miserable summer for the Capital as all the attention – and money – headed to a certain sporting event in London.

As it turns out, festivals chiefs are pretty pleased with today’s figures which show only a slight drop at the Fringe and increases for the Book and International Festival.

When you factor in that our summer was somewhat of a washout and the economic downturn continues to restrict spending, then that is not bad going at all.

The detail behind the numbers will no doubt be picked over for some time but, on the face of it, any rumours of the demise of Edinburgh’s festivals are greatly exaggerated.

Far from fearing competition from elsewhere – Olympic or otherwise – the Capital’s cultural offering continues to be the envy of the world.

Together, the 12 main festivals are said to generate around 
£260 million for Scotland, with the majority of the benefit remaining here in Edinburgh.

Around 5000 jobs are supported in the city at a time when they are badly needed.

The key now is to continue to develop and nurture these fantastic events which have been left as a recession-proof legacy from previous generations.

When economic conditions improve, we need to be positioned to take full advantage.

The festivals may have proved they can compete with the Olympics but there is no time for a victory lap.

Planning will already be well under way for summer 2013 – and we can’t wait.

Girl power

At the moment, the prospect of 
 Scotland taking on Spain on the football field would be enough to fill a nation with dread.

But at Hampden this weekend, a Scottish team actually has a realistic chance of winning – and going on to qualify for major finals for the first time.

Hibs Ladies defender Frankie Brown tells us today how she is relishing what will be the biggest game of her career and highlights the massive boost to her sport if Scotland make it to Uefa Women’s Euro 2013.

More than that, it will give all Scottish football fans something to shout about at last.

The SFA is hoping to entice a big crowd to cheer on the side to a historic victory by offering free admission to the game – a tactic it may have to employ for the men’s side if the current form continues.

But it’s time to forget about Levein’s losers, let’s hear it for the girls.