City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Fringe ends. What now?


By Edinburghs Festivals - Posted on 31 August 2007

The tents have come down. The big, bold Fringe venue numbers that spring up throughout the city in August have been removed as buildings revert to their former selves - churches, schools, university buildings, bars... The High Street is back to some semblance of quiet, with only a handful of the die-hard street performers playing to thinned out crowds. The paperwork, piled around my desk, has been swept up into a big bag of recycling.

The Fringe is over. Well, almost. The Ladyboys of Bangkok, Fuerzabruta and shows at the Spiegel Garden and T on the Fringe go on for one more day. 

But, officially, the Fringe ended four days ago (Monday 27th). It takes a while for that numb, dull feeling that always seems to follow the last frenzied weekend before the carnival leaves town, to subside.

It's not just the Fringe. The Edinburgh Film Festival has gone and, now that the EIFF is moving to June, with it the chance to hop between festivals catching theatre in the morning, music for lunch and a filmfest film in the afternoon. The Edinburgh Book Festival is also over, after another good year, and the Edinburgh Television Festival has come and gone.

As the party music wanes, the voices of the doubters and worriers have come to the fore. The past few days have seen the usual post-Fringe introspection. Is it too big? Are enough people coming to the Fringe from outside of Edinburgh? Are we in danger as a city of losing our edge to other cities (the "thundering hooves" of Manchester, London, and further afield)? Is there too much dross?

The public debate will roll on for some time. But the Fringe office, for one, is toasting a successful run, pointing out that 1,697,293 tickets have been sold over the course of the Fringe.  Having toted it all up, the Fringe Office says it's "a 10.8% increase on 2006 figures, with a 5% increase on ticketed shows in the same period. Strong sales were reported throughout the majority of Fringe venues, with Underbelly, Pleasance, Gilded Balloon, The Stand and T on the Fringe reporting strong sales."

So what now? It feels like everything's over, but the "Festival" (and by that I mean the festivals collectively) being such a huge beast, there's still more to come.

The Edinburgh International Festival climaxes this weekend with the Edinburgh Festival Fireworks Concert. There's the Edinburgh Mela with world roots music and Asian arts. There's also a chance to catch some of the Edinburgh Art Festival. In what feels like the Edinburgh Film Festival coming full circle, the opening film Hallam Foe, opens in Edinburgh cinemas tomorrow.

At the beginning of August I was thinking, "So much to do." It kind of feels strange to have time to do it now.