The days of diving head-first into all that the Edinbugrh Festivals have to offer has long gone. For one thing, I don’t have the contacts at venues nor promoters any more that enabled me to see quite so much for quite so little. If I’m being honest, for that matter, neither is youth on my side.
There’s no way I could ever recount the number of random interactions that I’ve enjoyed or the shows I’ve seen. Highlights definitely include seeing Andrew Maxwell, Flight of the Conchords and Tim Minchin in their relative early days and, laterly, Dr. Bubble and Milkshake. Of course, I’ve had to tolerate random Spanish caberet and other performances that didn’t quite hit the mark but that’s part of the beauty of the Fringe; all credit to them for putting themselves out there.
Nowadays I usually do my best to skirt around the Festival traffic for the majority of the month but there is undoubtably something about August that gives the entire city a discernable lift; everyone is at least 25% more humorous and feels twice as cultured.
The logistics of having the city’s population at least doubling will always be hard to deal with. It certainly strains the resources and undoubtably damages the public spaces that residents are supposed to enjoy for the rest of the year. Add into that the scourge of short-term lettings and it’s easy to see why a lot of people are glad of an enforced break.
Hopefully everyone can use this opportunity to think about the impact that August has on Edinburgh. For a city that relies so much on tourism it has been terrible to see quite so many businesses and invididuals suffer. Taking a moment to consider how things are done in future years, preferably with an eye on more sustainable approaches, seems like an obvious next step – and, ideally, one that is already being explored.