Edinburgh Festival Fringe: All of Jock Tamson's bairns are most welcome – Susan Morrison

The Fringe, like some old movie monster that just won't die, is opening its eyes and snuffling the air.

In 2020, it was on life support. Last year, we all sat around the bedside saying encouraging things like “you’re looking better”. This year, the patient will walk out of the ward.

But will there be lines of people applauding the return of the Fringe?

The complaints started as soon as registration opened. It's too big. Yes, it probably is, but it’s an open-access festival. Anyone can come, and they do.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe is returning to something like its former glory (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

There is no way of stopping the mime artist, the amateur contemporary dance troupe performing their interpretation of “Eastenders – The Dirty Den Years”, or the lad stretching ten minutes of variable stand-up comedy to an hour.

We could introduce audition panels at the airport, bus and railway stations, I suppose. It would be like jury duty. Six or seven couthy Edinburgh folk would be called up at a time to sit behind tables barking “Show us what you’ve got, son” at prospective acts, cruelly sending home weeping dancers in footless tights and bad jugglers.

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It's too expensive. Yes, it is, but living anywhere else for three weeks is costly, particularly in one of the world’s most popular tourist cities. Take a look at the cost of Airbnbs in London for the same amount of time.

It's crowded. Yes, it is. Getting about the city is a nightmare, but let's be honest, we could do with the dosh those visitors bring in.

Back in 2019, it was estimated that the combined festivals brought about £1 billion into the Scottish economy. That’s a lot of ringing tills, and it has been a tough couple of years.

Of course, I’m biased. I like the Fringe. I work there. I am also incredibly lucky. I live here. Those accommodation costs don’t apply to me. I even have my bus pass now, so I don’t even have travel costs. I don’t mind crowds, never have.

All Jock Tamson’s bairns will come to Edinburgh for three weeks, and I for one will welcome them back.