Leader comment: Edinburgh festivals need our support more than ever

There will be more than a few nerves this week as Edinburgh’s festivals make their full-scale return.

The events, so badly missed during the pandemic, are relaunching at a time when everyone’s disposable income has been hit by the cost-of-living crisis.

Culture is so often the first victim of an economic crisis, and support for the creative industries comes bottom of the pile for Government support.

But it is difficult to under-estimate the importance of Edinburgh’s festival season for the city, and the country, both in terms of the economy and worldwide branding.

The festivals need our support more than ever

Over the weekend, Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy urged artists and venues to “hold their nerve” amid reports of slower than normal ticket sales. This is perhaps to be expected and is a symptom of the uncertainty of recent years as well as the economic conditions. Too many people have been bruised by advance booking events which Covid-19 has then scuppered.

But we hope that once the events get underway, the Royal Mile becomes a hub of activity again and Edinburgh swells in size as the world comes to town to make 2022 the comeback the festivals deserve.

Last week brought news that the UK appears past the peak of the latest Covid surge, and Sunday provided the traditional cloud and rain to Edinburgh almost on cue to prepare for the August madness to come.

Ms McCarthy said she could “not have dreamt” there would be a Fringe back “with the depth of programming and content that we are seeing this year”. More than 3400 shows are on sale on the official website.

And while there are understandable nerves and anxious watching of ticket sales, everything is in place for all the festivals to be a massive success.

We should all throw our support behind the festivals, and indeed The Scotsman, as The Festival paper, will be making no apologies for doing exactly that.

We are ready, the performers are ready, the city is all set for later in the week and the big launch. There is even further rain is forecast.

All that is needed is the audience for the greatest show on Earth.

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