Edinburgh’s packed, but not necessarily for the Festival – Kevin Buckle

How many visitors are actually attending Festival and Fringe shows? (Picture: Ian Rutherford)
How many visitors are actually attending Festival and Fringe shows? (Picture: Ian Rutherford)
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Visitors’ reasons for visiting the Capital in August appear to be changing, suggests Kevin Buckle

This has been a really strange Festival for me. As I mentioned last week you can’t fail to know the Festival is on as the posters are everywhere, but there don’t seem to be any Festival people about.

It’s not as if I’ve stayed cocooned in the shop all the time as I regularly walk along Princes Street. My journeys along the High Street have been in the mornings – though there was a time when hardy folk would be handing out leaflets at 8am.

The shop is certainly busy but there has been little mention of the Festival. Indeed it is not surprising that the main topic of conversation has been yesterday’s Cure concert in Glasgow.

Most customers simply appear to be tourists visiting Edinburgh and with little interest in all the shows. This was unheard of only a few years ago and I can only imagine that all the increased rooms capacity has had the effect that Edinburgh is a place you can now visit in August without particularly being attracted by the Festival.

Stall holders report similar findings and unlike Avalanche, that has been busy, many of the artists say things have been relatively quiet and not helped by the usual comments about items on sale that aren’t “made in Scotland” as claimed.

Quite what all this means I’m not sure, especially as I’ve had little feedback on how this year’s attendances have been at shows, but while there is certainly no lack of people in Edinburgh in August their reasons for being here do appear to be changing and this may lead to more important consequences in the future.

I’m with the brand

I’m not sure when any business started to be considered a brand but now many seem to substitute the word brand for business at will. Others seem to confuse having a logo with having a brand.

For a business to be a brand it was normally considered that there had to be at least some recognition of the business among the public and preferably worldwide. From what I can tell those who talk about business now rather than actually being in business seem to think that any business is a brand, just in many cases without any “brand recognition”.

Advice often follows on “building a brand” when really recognition for a business should come from customer satisfaction and word of mouth. Of course the internet and in particular social media has provided the tools for giving the impression that a “brand” is better known than it is but nothing beats just having a good business that people appreciate.

It never ceases to amaze me that many charged with saving the high street have never traded on the high street – though it explains why so often their ideas are clearly impractical at best and nonsense at worst.

Given the current high street traumas I fear the worst.

Art in the frame

Some good news this week that the Fruitmarket Gallery bookshop will soon become neighbours of Avalanche at Waverley Mall while the gallery closes for its extension.

I’ve known of the plans for some time and was sworn to secrecy but noticed this week the bookshop had mentioned it themselves on Twitter so no doubt there will be a more detailed announcement soon.

Certainly it is good news for the mall’s promise to become an arts hub which has moved slowly since Avalanche’s arrival.