Shona McCarthy: Why Edinburgh needs the Fringe

Edinburgh is the Fringe, says society boss Shona McCarthy
Edinburgh is the Fringe, says society boss Shona McCarthy
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The Fringe is Edinburgh and Edinburgh is the Fringe.

I love this time of year. It’s when all the planning, the hard work, the risk, the anxiety and all of the preparation from the thousands of people who plan for, and build towards this extraordinary festival, get to see the full programme for the first time.

The Fringe is more than ever a vital place for performing artists from across Edinburgh and all of Scotland.

So much so, that there will be 967 shows from Scotland performed at this year’s Fringe.

And within the Fringe we also celebrate the tenth year of the Made In Scotland showcase, presenting the finest work from here to the world.

So far it has supported over 200 shows and enabled 89 Scottish productions to tour 36 countries.

Surveys show that 76 per cent of Edinburgh residents think the festivals make Edinburgh a better place to live and 600,000 Fringe tickets were issued to Edinburgh citizens for shows last year, more than the city’s population.

Last year we gave away £50,000 of Fringe vouchers and Lothian bus tickets to families and individuals across Edinburgh, enabling people to have a day out at the Fringe for free.

And we know that the Fringe contributes £145 million per year to the city’s economy.

I travel to cities the world over to promote Edinburgh’s Fringe; I haven’t come across a city yet that doesn’t want to emulate it. So Edinburgh is right to be proud of the perfect combination of local and global on its doorstep.