Comment: Fringe should move to match school holidays

This year's Festival is set to be the busiest yet. Pic: Neil Hanna
This year's Festival is set to be the busiest yet. Pic: Neil Hanna
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in just over a week’s time, with the Fringe in full swing, most Edinburgh youngsters will return to school.

It’s a state of affairs that we have grown used to over the years, but it is still one that causes enormous frustration. Why on earth do we stage the Festivals at a time that doesn’t really suit the majority of the city’s population?

It isn’t just that our children have less chance to join in the fun - as they are doing in ever greater numbers these days. But it makes sense on other levels too. So many of us take holidays when the schools are off that the roads are dramatically quieter. An ideal time, surely, for to invite hundreds of thousands of international visitors.

The city’s new culture leader Donald Wilson wants to see whether the Fringe can be moved to fit in properly with the school holidays. In doing so, he is joining a growing body of opinion that thinks the switch makes sense, including Tommy Sheppard, the Festival stalwart and now SNP MSP.

Some will say it won’t work, but that was said in the late 1990s, before the Fringe moved forward a week - and proved a huge success. You could shift it forward another fortnight and it would still fall within the English holidays to suit the tourists too. So, why not?