The capital is cross because the Fringe will get larger and extra commercialised. It’s time for a critical public debate, writes Stephen Jardine
We’ve nearly made it. Edinburgh has nearly survived one other Competition and Fringe. In simply a few days the chaotic circus leaves city and Scotland’s capital will get again to being a residing, working metropolis for one more 11 months.
However for the month of August it’s one thing else.
For 3 weeks the inhabitants doubles and even the only process turns into an impediment course involving crowds of bemused guests, political jugglers and the pan pipe gamers from the Andes.
The Edinburgh Competition Fringe is our pleasure and pleasure. Boosting the native economic system to the tune of £200 million yearly, it’s the present that retains on giving. With unsure occasions forward economically, the Fringe is our golden goose.
Nonetheless cash isn’t every thing. Simply as we’re all personally striving for a greater work/life stability, Edinburgh must resolve how the financial prosperity that is available in August sits with a resident inhabitants that simply wish to get on with their lives.
We’re advised the Fringe generates hundreds of jobs however the overwhelming majority of them are transient. Each drama pupil within the UK is right here in Edinburgh carrying a lanyard and organising the queues however they’re doing it for minimal wage and by subsequent week they are going to be gone. Accommodations, bars and eating places are overflowing however then they’re additionally packed in June and July.
Each Fringe performer I’ve spoken to this yr advised me they anticipate to lose cash following their time right here. So simply who’s making all the cash?
The reply is the massive promoters who take over swathes of the town centre in August. The times of beginner productions in church halls are largely gone, with tremendous venues full of stand-up comedy performers now dominating the Fringe.
With critical quantities of alcohol sponsorship, they make the cash and name the photographs. That was nearly OK whereas guests and residents might coexist in Edinburgh however there are growing indications that persistence is carrying skinny. The commercialisation of each area within the August and the pressure positioned on transport, litter assortment and the general public realm has led to extra grumbles from locals than ever earlier than. This metropolis is cross.
The way in which to resolve that isn’t for the Fringe to develop and develop, because it at all times has executed. As a substitute the town council must organise a correct public session and summit to resolve the place we go from right here. Maybe the massive tremendous venues ought to pay a public profit cost primarily based on earnings to assist help native infrastructure in August? That might pay for a military of road cleaners and even free bus journey for locals for the month.
Or perhaps the Fringe must shrink to only a fortnight to permit the town extra time to catch it’s breath whereas nonetheless having fun with the advantages.
Or how a couple of fallow yr when Edinburgh can take inventory in August and actually recognize what the Fringe brings. It really works for Glastonbury so why not right here ?
Regardless of the final result, we have to have a critical dialog about August in Edinburgh as a result of increasingly more individuals yearly merely isn’t a sustainable choice.