Airbnb not enough for Fringe

Shona McCarthy has warned about danger posed to the Fringe by accommodation problems. Picture: Greg Macvean
Shona McCarthy has warned about danger posed to the Fringe by accommodation problems. Picture: Greg Macvean
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The latest from the Festival: Airbnb has announced its new role as an Official Accommodation Partner of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. As an official partner, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Airbnb are working together to offer affordable alternative accommodations for all visitors.

“It’s fantastic to have support from Airbnb and to be able to work with them to ensure visitors to Edinburgh get the warmest of welcomes during their stay,” said Fringe chief executive Kath Mainland.

Festival experts will know Kath Mainland handed over to Shona McCarthy in 2016 and the above announcement was in fact made in May 2015. The tie-up with Airbnb was recognition that accommodation costs needed to be tackled and to open up more places to say at better rates than the hotels. Three seasons on and McCarthy says the rising cost of accommodation for performing companies “will kill off the very thing that drives it all in the first place”.

READ MORE: Fringe bosses under fire over Airbnb partnership

Clearly, demand has overtaken the increased capacity from expanding private short-term so she has now called for a city-wide effort to address the problem.

But if there is one way to guarantee higher prices it’s to attack supply, which is exactly what the Green campaign against short-term letting would do. The only way to tackle the problem is to increase supply from agencies able to control prices, so solutions may lie in some sort of pop-up hostel approach.

Maybe a revival of the 2005 Live 8 temporary campsite? Glastonbury for a month sounds like every local’s worst nightmare.

Fond memories of night on the tiles with Roy

I was at a dreadful Fringe show involving Australian drag queens miming to the Grease soundtrack. Ten minutes in and I escaped to the Library Bar terrace where sitting on his own enjoying a cigar was comedian Roy Walker.

Seeing I too had a cigar he proffered a light and we got chatting, eventually about a family funeral in Belfast and the maudlin exchange with a distant relative.

“Remember, Roy, we’re always here for you,” he recalled being told. “Anything you need... pick up the phone... We’re family...day or night... just call...

Taking my hand, he looked me in the eye... “We’re here for you... don’t be a stranger ... anything you need... just name it...”

He paused... “So I said... d’you tile bathrooms?”

Hook, line and sinker... and now he’s returning for the TV Festival. Welcome back, Roy.