'Like it or lump it, the Festival is heare to stay' - Readers' Comments

News columnist Helen Martin says UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden's Festival comments – in which he says next year should see a return to the 4.4 million audience with 25,000 performers and 5000 events. – underlines how English Tory MPs don't really understand Scotland. Did readers agree?

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 7:00 am
Edinburgh residents appear divided over the value of the Festival and Fringe

Fiona Harvie: Many businesses in Edinburgh profit from the festival, the tourists bring money into the city and have been a part of life here for many years. It is only three or four weeks of the year and as an Edinburgh resident I love the colour and vibrancy of having such a wide and varied arts festival on my doorstep. The fact that there are a number of big events planned next year will encourage more overseas tourists to the UK and maybe they will stay longer. The tourism industry has been badly hit by Covid restrictions, with many people losing their livelihoods. Let’s welcome the tourists back.

Dominic Whitwham-Biroth: Sorry Fiona, you've got a similar opinion to a Tory so Helen is cancelling your Scottish identity. If you support the festival you must be an Englishman with no idea about what Scots want.

David Black: Would you be in favour of a referendum for the residents of the city to decide if (a) we actually have the festivals, (b) we continue to fund the festivals (c) do we go back to the size before the pandemic and (d) do we keep it as it has been this year? This argument has been going on for many, many years and it needs settled once and for all. We have been told by council leader Adam McVey that 35,000 jobs are dependant on it, so how many of those have actually lost their jobs over the past two years. I am talking about full-time, year-long locals in employment? I am obviously against it – well the Fringe actually – but I would be more than happy for this to be decided by a referendum.

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Marshal Wade: The Fringe is what's important – the "official" Festival is small, narrow, and well beyond the wallet of most people anyway. A better approach might be to encourage the spreading of the various festivals over the whole summer from the start of May, maybe with the Spring folk festival and Beltane starting everything off, thus making life easier for residents, performers, and visitors.

Graeme Scambler: Helen Martin should move to Chernobyl – it’s lack of life and festivals would really suit her.

Claire AA Eadie: Taking away the concentration of events from the city centre has to be a major plus point and should remain beyond this year’s festivals. It also should be about quality, not quantity – less is more.

Kyle Robertson: Like it or lump it the Festival is here to stay. It brings millions of pounds into the city which in turn supports thousands of jobs, not to mention many artists and comics will be their big breaks here.

Hugh Rose: NIMBY is a term that springs to mind to describe the author's attitude. Edinburgh Council can stop the festival if that is what the inhabitants who elect it desire.

Donald W Macleod: If we didn’t have the festivals we wouldn’t have the facilities for arts and culture that we have now, we’d have fewer bars and restaurants and life in the city would be the poorer for it, all year round.