Festival crowds enjoy the retro pop experience - Kevin Buckle

It was widely reported this week that the Edinburgh Fringe was in jeopardy because of low ticket sales.

By Kevin Buckle
Saturday, 30th July 2022, 7:00 am
David Bowie merchandise is in demand
David Bowie merchandise is in demand

There were several reasons given but one was the cost of accommodation. This actually contradicts what I have heard from visitors in recent years.

As more and more hotels have been built, one thing that has happened is that those with no interest in the Festival are able to afford a visit to Edinburgh in August.

This year several couples have commented how much student accommodation is available during the summer, which will not be a surprise to anybody.

What Edinburgh needs to be careful of is becoming a place people don’t want to visit in August because the Festival spoils their enjoyment. Many who live near Edinburgh avoid it in August already and that is a trend that could spread further afield.

Luckily many of Edinburgh’s attractions are not spoilt by the Festival crowds, though The Royal Mile can be quite unpleaseantly busy, which to be fair can also be the case even outside of August.

I always find that the last two weeks of July are as busy as August for Avalanche as we get all the families in the shop once the school holidays have started and amazingly this has been the best year ever for school trips and language schools.

Before the kids would normally buy a T-shirt or two and the reason we started selling mugs was because they wanted presents to take home to their parents with AC/DC, Bowie and The Beatles top of their list. Now for the first time a lot of them are buying vinyl for themselves as not only do we have things they can not find back home but they find the prices are very reasonable.

Probably the highlight was an army of Taylor Swift fans on a school trip from Brazil who bought her vinyl and CDs and topped up with some One Direction merchandise for old times’ sake. It is odd to hear such young people reminisce about how much they used to love the band.

Close behind was a couple of older schoolboys from Chile who, disappointed with the St James Quarter, had been allowed to come over to the Waverley Market. Figuring it “couldn’t be any worse” they were very excited to find so many T-shirts.

One boy bought several and explained that if he had had more money he would have bought a lot more and sold them at twice the price to his friends back home.

It is odd to get so many people in from South America as travel is not cheap. It isn’t all school trips. One lady bought a couple of albums including one by the metal band Tool we had as an expensive vinyl import.

She explained how hard it was to find it in her country and I told her it was actually hard to find in any country. She was from Bolivia.

I’ve had several customers from Brazil buying Butcher Billy cards without knowing he too lives in Brazil. They are always proud when I tell them. They will be even prouder when they see the display I have ordered for the Waverley Market.