Leader: ‘We wouldn’t change the Fringe for the world’

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The statistics are staggering. Over the last few weeks, Edinburgh has played host to 2871 separate Fringe shows, 45,464 individual performances by 24,107 performers from 41 countries.

The world’s largest arts festival is alive and well and, with reports that we could be heading for a record year, any rumours of its demise have been swiftly extinguished.

Several venues have reported a massive leap in sales with a combination of improving economic conditions and the impact of the London Olympics on last year’s Festival helping fuel the rise.

But even taking that into account, 2013 looks to have been a major success.

It is obvious there has been a real buzz around town and the Fringe this year.

The transformation of George Street helping the Festival break-out from its traditional heartland has played a part in that in what appears to have been a very successful experiment.

Whether traders would welcome the part-pedestrianisation becoming a permanent fixture, however, is another matter.

The Royal Mile has been jam-packed to such an extent that it makes walking from one end to another a major achievement – let alone running the equivalent of a marathon up and down every day like Vicki Weitz.

It all adds up to more good news for our city – whether it is in the immediate economic impact of so many visitors to the Capital, the thousands of jobs the festivals help to sustain, or just helping to put a smile on our face.

Heading into the last weekend of the Fringe, no doubt some Edinburgh residents will be relieved that it is all over for another year and we can have our city back.

But we cannot underestimate the importance of the August madness and we wouldn’t change it for the world.

Roll on Fringe 2014.