Euan McGrory: Why not take more of the Fringe to Leith?

A Fringe entertainer puts up posters advertising her show on the Royal Mile. Picture: Getty
A Fringe entertainer puts up posters advertising her show on the Royal Mile. Picture: Getty
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THERE is no avoiding the fact that our front page story today will divide opinion across the city.

Some will see the idea of street performers on George Street and St Andrew Square as a logical step after seeing other festival events successfully take over both spaces in recent years. At least as many will throw their hands up in horror at the idea of yet another expansion of the city’s festivals - with the inevitable disruption that brings.

If everyone agrees on one thing, it is that the current arrangements don’t work terribly well. At peak times in August, far too many people try to squeeze into too small a space in parts of the city centre, creating uncomfortable bottlenecks.

This isn’t simply a ‘tourist problem’, although how to handle growing visitor numbers is part of it. An awful lot of Lothians residents - who together bought 600,000 tickets for last year’s Fringe - are adding to the big squeeze.

Spreading the festivals out a little more makes sense - although there are major hurdles in the way of the Fringe’s ideas, including getting agreement from the owners of St Andrew Square Gardens.

Why stop at St Andrew Square? Why not really branch out and take more of the Fringe to Leith?