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Edinburgh settles after “exhilarating” summer festivals

ByAmanda Ho

Sep 16, 2015

This year’s Edinburgh festivals saw a ticket sales rise of five per cent, with about 2.3 million tickets issued for 50,000 Fringe events. This accounted for £3.8 million in ticket sales, an increase of 19% from last year.

Every year, millions of visitors from in and out of the UK flock to Edinburgh to enjoy the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), which features a variety of shows from music, to comedy and the performing arts running throughout August.

Kath Mainland, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said, “[…] with an estimated 2,298,090 tickets issued and many thousands of people attending the 800 free shows in the programme, I’ve no doubt every single person who watched a Fringe show, or experienced this wonderful festival city, will take away unforgettable memories.”

The 2015 EIF has also witnessed high ratings for its shows, most notably Antigone with Juliette Binoche and Lanark by David Grieg.

Second year University of Edinburgh student and Fringe-goer, Chloe Munden, said, “I think it’s great for comedians and talents that aren’t that famous for getting their name out there because there were so many different acts to see and people performing on the street.”

Despite the festive atmosphere, crime was still a major issue, with a total of 176 people arrested, of which 156 were suspected of possessing drugs and supply, thefts, robbery and assault. An additional 20 people were also charged for several warrant offences.

In one case, a 19-year old male, who would like to remain anonymous, experienced facial injuries left by an unknown man who assaulted him in an unprovoked attack as he and a group of friends walked on Middle Meadow walk from Forest Road early one morning.

However, this instance has not changed his impression of the Fringe at all. “People can get screwed up and do stupid things at any big event. Edinburgh is generally a safe place and compared with other festivals, there are very few reports of violence,” he told The Student.

“The only thing that should change is that there should be more CCTV put up in the Meadows permanently and more of a police presence around George Square during the Fringe time.”

City police generally see a climb in incidents throughout August due to the number of unprecedented visitors that arrive in the capital. Nonetheless, Chief Inspector Bob Paris of the City Centre Policing Team praised the support of both visitors and local residents in aiding their policing operations.

These included regular high-visibility patrols throughout the city centre during the month while plain-clothed police organised discrete operations in the areas of Southside and Newington. Close liaison with the city council’s licensing department involved officers searching bars, clubs and restaurants for any criminal activity as well as ensuring the responsible sale of alcohol.

Overall, Fergus Linehan has described his first year of being festival director as “exhilarating”.

“All that remains is for us to thank the hundreds of artists and hundreds of thousands of audience members who continue to make the Edinburgh International Festival one of the wonders of the arts world,” he said.


Image: A Fringe performer on the Royal Mile.

Image Credit: Festival Fringe Society, Wikipedia

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