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Why I'm glad August is finally over


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Every August hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to Edinburgh to visit the Fringe Festival, and every September many Edinburgh residents breathe a sigh of relief when they finally leave.

Royal Mile during The Fringe

Every August the streets of Edinburgh become packed with people from all around the world, attending one of the biggest celebrations of comedy around the world.

However, despite this world-famous reputation, I have spent most of the last month wishing the Fringe Festival would end.

Firstly I must make it clear that I don't hate all of the opportunities that the festival brings for those of us who always live here. 

Indeed, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a frequent visitor to the numerous pop-up bars and special late-night licenses that only occur during the Fringe.

Equally, living here during August has given me the chance to see some of my favourite comedians, who don't ordinarily tour in Scotland, right on my doorstep.

However, these advantages come at an incredibly high price.

For example, Edinburgh residents have to sacrifice their ordinarily beautiful city to thousands of posters and billboards covering every inch of available space.

From almost entirely hiding Edinburgh Castle behind huge posters on the railings of Princes Street Gardens to dropped flyers carpeting the cobbles of the Royal Mile, it is basically impossible to actually see most of Edinburgh.

Linked closely to this is the presence of flyerers, or more specifically mean flyerers, wherever you turn.

Having been one myself in the early days of university, I know it's an incredibly hard job and the majority of people who promote shows on the streets are genuinely lovely.

However, every year some take their job far too seriously and end up aggressively shoving bits of paper in your face whilst shouting at you for not paying attention to them.

For those who are genuinely looking for show recommendations this, although slightly off-putting, can be a great way to find hidden comedy gems.

In contrast, for those of us who are not here specifically for the festival, and are simply trying to get to work or back home, the act of repeatedly having bits of paper shoved in your face for 30 days becomes increasingly rage inducing.

As a result of this, there are entire areas of Edinburgh which, although perfectly pleasant for the other 11 months of the year, are actively avoided by locals at all cost during August.

Indeed, on a journey which would have ordinarily taken me 10 minutes, I found myself allotting an extra 20 minutes purely so I could avoid the dreaded Royal Mile. 

At the start of August, while the festival still feels a little novel, the busy streets and thousands of pieces of paper seem merely inconvenient; a reasonable price to pay to live in such a vibrant city.

However, having to deal with this every single day begins to wear residents down and, by the final weekend of the fringe, what was once a marginal inconvenience becomes deep-rooted rage.

Indeed, I even found myself watching the end of festival fireworks with a wonderful sense of relief, safe in the knowledge that it would once again be safe to go outside.

Image: Matito

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