I'm off to Edinburgh for the final week of the festival. While I have a number of shows I want to see, the thing that most interests me is finding out how successful this years fringe has actually been. According to press reports, numbers are up and attendance is steady. However, when talking to people who are actually playing or producing this year, there is a strong sense of a drop in numbers with some shows playing to as little as 50% houses in premium venues. Is it possible that olympicitus spread so far north?
So, after many months of "wondering" how to post video footage on here, I finally persisted with the googling strategy and it paid off. Of course once I achieved it and it all seems so simple and straightforward, I'm asking myself, what took me so long. Yes, I could've asked someone, I could've gone to a forum somewhere and initiated a thread.
This is is just another example of how, when we are confronted by a problem that exists outside the comfort and habit of our day to day life, we tend towards paralysis. of course, in theory, we should all be able to step back a little, look at the problem a bit more objectively and apply our creative, solution focussed abilities to solving the task at hand.
However despite the theories, the truth is a lot different. I think in most cases our first reaction, as was mine when dealing a technological issue, is because this problem exists within an environment thats alien to me, "I need an expert in case I break something!"
But do we really? Isn't that what the internet gives us now? We are one gigantic, connected network. We have the ability to crowdsource answers to any problem that could ever occur in our day to day lives at home or in business. Not only is this true but we are finding solutions from real experts in the field and these answers are very often embedded in step by step videos so we have a full proof way of dealing with the issue at hand with complete trust.
Even though I use the internet in every aspect of my daily life, it took this simple task to realise how powerful this connectivity really can be.
But this strategy has become a visceral part of how the next generation engages with life. They understand this. They don't even question it. They assume its existence and place complete trust in it. This is going to be the new generation gap. The question is how can a traditional system deal with a generation who is not afraid of breaking stuff? THe one excuse that can never be used again is "I feel disconnected from the youth of today"
So the Edinburgh Fringe comes and end for 2010. Having spent a week at the festival for the first time in many years I was amazed at a number of things. First of all, how big the event has grown. With over 2,500 performances, if I'd spent the month up there I still would not have got to the all the shows I wanted to see. I was surprised by how expensive it has become to eat out and how difficult it is to find somewhere other than a curry house that serves half decent food. One also can't ignore the weather! Pretty atrocious the week i was there. I mean I know Scotland can be wet but this was ridiculous. A cabbie politely informed us that in the first week of the festival the city had received its average quota of rain for the entire month.
All that being said, it was great to see so many shows (some good, some poor), to meet so many interesting people and to admire the sheer work ethic of those staging productions in their attempt to build audiences. With the average attendance per show during the festival being seven, these people work very hard indeed. It is also great news for theatre in general when, given the inclement weather, the cost of living etc, this years festivals breaks its own record with 1.8 million tickets sold. It is also a very loud response to those naysayers who continuously predict the death of live theatre; something I've been listening to now for nearly a decade. i can't wait to attend next years, though I think I'll be wearing much warmer clothes and cooking a lot!