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A summer without the Festivals

A summer without the Festivals | Contini

Dear lovely friends, it’s August in Edinburgh and the city is looking and feeling very different

Our business has benefited hugely from the city’s summer season but over the years it has got harder and it’s not due to my age. Having to deliver between 15 and 20% of your annual turnover in 3 weeks, and maintain your values, standards and consider your team’s health and wellbeing has been challenging. The festival season recruitment used to be easy, with a flood of students looking for summer holiday work but with more and more activities brought to the city trying to find the resource to service this has become exceptionally challenging.

So much crammed into three weeks is exciting as a visitor but I think we can all agree it has had an impact in less beneficial ways.

Covid has given us a chance to reassess what is of value. We have come to appreciate our family and friends more than ever and we’ve come to value the treat of dining out in restaurants as we’ve heard you say so many times over the last few weeks. Thank you again for all your lovely comments.

I value all our festivals as a business, as a resident and as a lover of the arts. But could we not spread them out, even over two months rather than 3 weeks? Years ago the festival season stretched over four weeks.The final week was always a chance to wind down gently and even gave those working in the city a chance to participate in them, even if just a little, with the crazy weeks having passed.

I appreciate there is a world outwith Edinburgh that has a say in our artists calendar but with everything on stop could we not have a festival season that was more like the icing on a cake covering the whole of the top rather than just the cherry on a cake that no longer has any icing? This may bring some harmony to our residents, make the experience for the visitors more considered and more unique to them and would certainly allow the service sector a chance to deliver a more sustainable working environment that ultimately benefits everyone all year long.

Our experience (the statistics may provide different facts) shows that there is a demand for each festival in it’s own rights. These may be slightly smaller but sometimes smaller can be more beautiful. I believe that each of our festivals from Book, Fringe, International and the Tattoo are strong enough to stand on their own. Maybe just a dream but this really could make our city the best, sustainable, considered and happiest festival city in the world.

Keep well and keep safe.
Carina, Victor and all the Contini team



We’re delighted to see virtual Festival activities taking place so why not book an at Home dining experience?

In partnership with The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, we are offering you the ultimate VIP experience to enjoy the Tattoo at home and indulge in a delicious four-course dine in meal for two from Cannonball House.

Your purchase supports the work of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the benevolent funds of the Armed Forces and the arts in Scotland.


(excluding Highlands and Islands)




Orders are being taken for Contini at Home for this week and next!


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