Covid lockdown and travel restrictions may affect Edinburgh's festivals for some time yet – Helen Martin

It was a few months ago when the Royal Highland Show was promoting its 2021 event and trying to sell tickets.

By Helen Martin
Sunday, 7th March 2021, 4:45 pm
Tickets have been on sale for this year's Tattoo since October.
Tickets have been on sale for this year's Tattoo since October.

Hardly surprising that its Twitter promotion had a few replies questioning why they expected it to go ahead in June.

There was no guarantee that vaccines would have been completed. Nor was it certain that people running businesses there, restaurants, impressive vehicles and tractors etc, competitive horse riders perhaps from Ireland or the rest of the UK, let alone visitors, could travel to Edinburgh.

Would there be more strains or variants? How could social distancing be maintained? Obviously RHS was hoping for the best, and being super-optimistic. Now it’s cancelled and Ingliston is a vaccine centre.

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Major General Buster Howes who is in charge of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo this year, is hoping that goes ahead in August, and tickets have been sold since last October.

He’s angry that the Cockburn Association is aware of over-tourism and he claims they want to turn the city centre into a “medieval theme park”.

The Cockburn Association wants to protect our Capital’s history and culture, and certainly doesn’t support the modern fairgrounds, the growing Fringe and millions of crowding tourists jamming in the centre. I suspect they are less opposed to the Tattoo in the Castle’s esplanade than some other festivals.

But the audience of 8,800 every night and 220,000 in total is excessive in the wake of the pandemic.

Will international travel restrictions be over in August? Will people really want to come this year? That’s not guaranteed yet.

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