Welsh backs rival festival for locals

It is the biggest annual arts celebration in the world, ploughing £120m a year into the Scottish economy. But in recent times, local people have begun to view the Edinburgh Festival as over-priced, elitist and out-of-touch.

It is the biggest annual arts celebration in the world, ploughing £120m a year into the Scottish economy. But in recent times, local people have begun to view the Edinburgh Festival as over-priced, elitist and out-of-touch.

Now a collection of amateur performers from the city's most deprived areas are fighting back. In a bid to "reclaim" the festival on behalf of communities marginalised by rising ticket prices and the central locations of most performances, they are launching their own "People's Festival" as an alternative to the mainstream event and its traditional Fringe.

Irvine Welsh, whose novel Trainspotting challenged the perception of Edinburgh as a picture postcard tourist destination, warned that the festival was turning the city into a "cultural desert" and a "shortbread Disneyland". In a BBC radio interview, Mr Welsh said: "It [the festival] is now a playground for rich kids from the Home Counties, for festival kids who want to make it big in the arts, for toy-town career politicians, for anybody, in fact, but its local citizens." He is due in Edinburgh later this month to promote the book's sequel, Porn.

Yesterday, the founder of the new "People's Festival", Colin Fox, confirmed that it would be inaugurated on 24 August with a gala extravaganza at the Jack Kane Centre, a community venue in Edinburgh's impoverished Craigmillar district. Tickets for the show will cost £2. "Even Fringe shows can now cost up to £35 or £40 to attend, which makes them impossible for many local people to afford," Mr Fox said. "Locals seem to be here just to do the mucky job of cleaning up after the big all-night parties."

Mr Fox's initiative, dedicated to the founding fathers of the original festival, has the support of trades unions and the Fringe mavericks OutoftheBlue, whose alternative comedy awards ceremony, The Tap Water Prize, will this year go head-to-head with The Perrier Awards.

A spokesman for the Fringe said 41 per cent of its audience came from Edinburgh and the surrounding area, while some 17 per cent of its performances were by local people.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'