Edinburgh Festival Fringe's 75th anniversary can provide a much-needed economic boost to the city – Steve Cardownie

I was heartened to hear that Shona McCarthy from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was “more optimistic about the future than ever before” as reported in yesterday’s Evening News.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 12:30 pm
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society believes this year will see a 'renaissance' of the event (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society believes this year will see a 'renaissance' of the event (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year, the fringe will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this summer.

Reaching a peak of 3,841 shows staged in over 323 venues in 2019, Shona is aware that concerns were being raised about crowd control and she will no doubt continue to address them.

She has said that the Fringe Society would be “fighting as hard as we can” to ensure that the Fringe recovers this year and that the future was about “reimagining the Fringe as the very best version of itself”.

There will always be detractors, of course, who would probably rail against the Fringe in whatever form it was to take. Who, not in the least caring about the international cultural profile it provides the city with, also ignore the huge boost it gives to the economy, to say nothing of the number of jobs it supports.

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But enough of them. The prospect of a re-energised Fringe in 2022 is a mouth-watering prospect and will be eagerly anticipated by the Edinburgh public and the retail and entertainment sector will get the economic charge that it so badly needs.

In my previous role as Festival and Events Champion, I always said that Edinburgh was lucky to have people of exceptional calibre, like Shona, heading up our cultural and sporting institutions, capable of attracting artists of exceptional quality and staging breath-taking performances.

That was what established Edinburgh on the cultural map – and for that we should be grateful.

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