Calls to move Ross Bandstand concerts to Leith Links

Calls for music concerts to be moved from Princes Street Gardens to Leith has met with a mixed response from the community.

Tom Jones show for Summer sessions, Princes Street Gardens. Picture: Ryan Johnston for Edinburgh Summer Sessions

The chairman of city heritage watchdog Cockburn Association Cliff Hague has suggested pop and rock gigs should be moved out of the Gardens to protect the park and the Links should be considered as an alternative location.

But Leith Links Community Council chairman Jim Scanlon said that although it is an attractive idea, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration.

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He said: “The idea of holding large scale concerts on the Links is attractive and would encourage more people to visit Leith and hopefully use the many excellent restaurants etc in the area.

“But before any decision was made all stakeholders in the area would have to be consulted to see if any project would be possible.”

The Links, as one of Edinburgh’s main parks, is supposed to be used for a maximum of four large events a year.

And Mr Scanlon said under the current regulations that would leave room for only two more events after including the Leith Gala Day in June and The Mela.

He added: “So far this year we’ve had the traditional Gala Day, Russian State Circus and next month the Mela.

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“Leith Athletic Football Club also have an agreement with the Edinburgh council to use areas of the Links for football pitches during the season.

“They may not be keen to share what they see as their space with other users.

“The location of the Mela this year has had to be moved away from it’s normal location on the Links due to objections raised by the football club over concerns that pitches could be damaged.”

But Mr Scanlon reiterated that before any decision is made all stakeholders in the area would have to be 
consulted to see if any project would be possible.

A consultation is currently ongoing, canvassing the opinions of residents on the use of the gardens.

It comes following controversy last week after blackboards were put up to prevent the public seeing ticketed concerts in the gardens.

Council leader and Leith Ward Cllr Adam McVey said a thoughtful discussion on the nature of events in the gardens needs to be had.

“This space belongs to the people of Edinburgh. I hope as many people as possible will take part in our consultation to shape the way forward.

“It’s wrong to suggest Leith Links could be an appropriate replacement for what is a purpose-built bandstand with a hard-standing area for an audience.

“However, the festival has been extended to Leith this year by using the growingly successful Leith Theatre as an amazing new venue. If there are opportunities to bring exciting events to Leith we should consider them but look at the most appropriate venue for any such opportunities.”