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Fringe benefits of Games

And so the eyes of the world turn, as they do every year, to Edinburgh.

Glasgow's Games, with their strong and eclectic cultural programme, has, unusually, stolen some of the spotlight from the lead up to the Edinburgh festivals, which begin this weekend with the Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh Art Festival.

The sense of occasion, joy and inclusion in the Games, organisers of the Fringe will hope, can be transferred successfully to Scotland's habitual festival city. Many visitors in Scotland for the Games will stay on, and travel to Edinburgh to take in the Fringe. This may further increase the annual frantic revelry of the capital's festival season, and indeed the Games have already changed the Fringe this year: there are greater contributions from Commonwealth countries in its programme.

The Fringe has been wise to install a ticket office in Queen Street Station again. This year's Fringe could issue two million tickets for the first time. Indeed, the Fringe seems to defy the economy an annual warning that its success cannot last. This year is also the only Fringe to ever come directly before a vote on independence. This sets the stage for a particularly spine-tingling edition of ours, and the world's, biggest arts festival.

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