How many shows can fit in one tent?

The schedule for BBC shows in Edinburgh is pasted up outside their site Over the last few years shows such as Radio 2's Simon Mayo and Newsnight have come up to Edinburgh

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The BBC's presence at this year's Edinburgh Festivals is bigger than ever before, writes BBC social media producer Clare Spencer.

Seemingly almost every department is in the Scottish capital this summer. It's a feat of working together under one tent.

From The One Show to 1Xtra, more parts of the BBC are heading to Edinburgh during the festivals for the first time.

Of course, the BBC has been an Edinburgh Festivals' fixture for years. Radio 1's Scott Mills, for instance, first came up five years ago to perform Scott Mills the Musical and has been making the journey every year since.

Going back further, BBC Scotland's MacAulay and Co has been at the fringe for at least 17 years.

But the record must go to coverage of classical music. Radio 3 senior producer Lindsay Pell says she personally has been working on the station's coverage of Edinburgh International Festival for at least 15 years but is pretty sure the BBC has been there since it began. That was in 1947.

Charlie Sloth presenting Hip Hop comedy night This year is 1Xtra presenter Charlie Sloth's first time at Edinburgh Fringe

In the past, BBC participants were scattered across different venues. Now, almost all of them are in one "tented village".

As you walk in to BBC@PotterRow the scene is familiar to much of the rest of Edinburgh at this time of year - a promoter is trying to get people to come and watch his show.

But it's not a one-man show depicting the Ukrainian conflict through trapezeā€¦ or something as characteristically obtuse. It's The One Show.

Studio audience manager Francesc Rivas sings the theme tune through a loud speaker and audiences start piling in. This is the biggest arts festival in the world and there are roughly 50,000 performances happening in one city - but these people are choosing to watch a show they can catch every weeknight at home.

Fast forward to 2pm the next day and the site is full of prams. At one end entertainers have a sing-along with children while others sit back in deck chairs wearing wireless headphones to watch the big screen.

Members of the public take a selfie at the filming of the One Show Members of the public take the obligatory selfie at the filming of The One Show

Ruth Milway, project director for BBC at the Edinburgh Festivals, says the area is popular for families because there aren't that many genuinely free places you can take children in the city during August.

She points to the people in headphones and recalls being baffled by a crowd starting an impromptu silent disco during a screening of a documentary on Abba. The music was good, she concedes, it was late and they'd had a few beers, but she could never have predicted that people would dance to a documentary.

That is the eclectic nature of the BBC's site.

"This year has been bigger because we've got more content than ever before, it's bigger because we've got this new flagship television programme [Edinburgh Nights with Sue Perkins] but it's really big because we've got a performance a day online.

"When Tony Hall visited the site last year, he said: 'This is brilliant but why isn't more of it available digitally?'."

All this takes planning, of course. And Ruth began planning early - in the middle of last year's festivals.

"Getting the money in place is the biggest and longest job. It took seven and a half months to get the money agreed. We pull it together from across the BBC: a chunk from television, a chunk from radio, a chunk from arts, some from Learning, some from marketing. For each of those divisions we have to come up with the strategies, to make sure it works for them.

"That's a slow and painful process.

"Then once we have the money, we recruit the teams and put it together."

Studio audience manager Francesc Rivas has a loud speaker Studio audience manager Francesc Rivas, with the loudspeaker, works at Edinburgh Festivals every year

If chasing the funding sounds like a drawn out affair, then persuading shows to come up has taken even longer.

"Simon Mayo came because we spent a year persuading Radio 2 that they should send him. They came in 2012 and then we got him here in person in 2013. He loved it so much he's back this year."

And that means a broader audience is introduced to the Edinburgh Festivals.

"Think about the reach of Simon Mayo. I'm not just talking in terms of numbers, I'm talking about who he speaks to as an audience. It's phenomenal that he now comes here."

All the persuading, planning and co-ordinating also produces an environment where, for the summer, BBC staff work alongside people they would never otherwise meet.

"It's not often that Front Row and Asian Network share a production office. And it's quite powerful when that happens because people can really share ideas. If Radio 2 has a guest drop out we get Loose Ends from Radio 4 on the case and ask them who they've heard who was good."

Sitting across from Ruth, the BBC's head of Arts Jonty Claypole butts in: "That degree of co-ordination and collaboration is a very, very beautiful thing."

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