Monday, 16 August 2010

Time for Edinburgh to step up another gear

Again the time has come for Edinburgh to up its response to the visitor success story that is August.

Photo: Jeff J Mitchell
In the middle weekend of August crowds just pour into the Royal Mile and, at times, it is close to capacity - giving even relaxed tourists that claustrophobic feeling of tightly packed crowds.

There was a time when the Fringe was spread into halls and venues around Edinburgh.  Recent years have seen a concentration of activity in the city centre -the Bristo Square, Royal Mile, Cowgate and George Street areas.  So the localisation of the Festival and Fringe has contributed to the success - you never have to travel far.

But at least as far as the street performances are concerned the time has come to devote more public space to accommodate both performers and the vast audiences for this part of Edinburgh's August.  A search to find the right place or places needs to be undertaken before next year. 

Places like West Market Street, Grassmarket, Chambers Street, Middle Meadow Walk or the Meadows itself should be considered for street theatre. It will probably mean more pedestrianisation  of some streets during August.  But we must respond the the ever growing success that is August in Edinburgh.

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