Could Linlithgow be a thriving “annexe” for the overcrowded and ever-growing Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August? We’ll know soon enough.
Local woman Pamela Barnes of Linlithgow Community Development Association says this year’s appearance at a local church by children’s entertainer Nick Cope could be the beginning of something big.
“He was a sell-out, twice, and he wants to come back”, she said, “but he thinks there are othr artistes who would love the opportunity to escape the Edinburgh scene for a while and enjoy the ambience of Linlithgow and its appreciative local audiences.”
Recently appointed as community development worker she aims to test the feasability of wooing more acts to the town at a time when Edinburgh is swamped with tourists, and when even the most unpromising venues are at a premium for artistes.
“We’ve an excellent selection of just the sort of venues you find being used at the Fringe,” said Pamela - “and now we’ve seen that a church hall here can be just as attractive as a performance space as an Edinburgh one.”
Meanwhile the town is arguably the one place south of the Highland line that can rival Edinburgh for tourist appeal, architecture and historical ambience - and for people staying in Edinburgh is just a short train trip away.
But it wouldn’t just be about the visitors, says Pamela, because - like the children at the Nick Cope performances - plenty of local people would enjoy the prospect of seeing niche Fringe acts, perhaps of the sort playing to audiences of 100 or less, in their own town.
With its blue chip Palace attraction the town has an iconic landmark every bit as compelling as Edinburgh Castle, and the High Street is peppered with high quality traditional pubs which easily meet the sort of standard tourists expect to find in the best-known hauntsw of the Royal Mile.
It’s early days yet, says Pamela, but the idea of gaining a seam of visitor traffic from the Festival is - she is convinced - well worth exploring in detail.