Summer series of covers band concerts to be staged in Princes Street Gardens

A new series of all-ticket pop and rock concerts are to be staged in Princes Street Gardens in the summer – despite concerns over the growing commercialism of the famous Edinburgh park.

Paloma Faith played at the bandstand last year. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Paloma Faith played at the bandstand last year. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The Edinburgh Summer Fiesta will be staged at the Ross Bandstand each July under plans by Glasgow-based promoters who have struck a deal with city council chiefs to use the arena.

Tribute acts to Elvis Presley, Queen, The Jam and Status Quo are among the acts lined up for the initial series of shows, which will run for seven and a half hours each day.

Tickets will cost up to £27.50 for each day, although organisers Bounded Promotions have promised that £1 from each ticket will go to cancer charity Marie Curie Scotland. Cover bands appearing include Mod Life Crisis, Status No, Soul Nation, The Jam’d, Flash: A Tribute to Queen and Paul Thorpe as Elvis.

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    Although gates for each day of the event will open at 1pm, city council officials say each concert will have a capacity of 3000 and will not affect access to the rest of the gardens.

    The Edinburgh Summer Festival has been confirmed a year after the return of large-scale pop and rock concerts to the Ross Bandstand saw Sir Tom Jones, Paloma Faith, Bastille, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Kasabian and Bastille perform.

    The Summer Sessions programme has been expanded to nine shows this year, with Lewis Capaldi, Florence & The Machine, Madness and Primal Scream lined up.

    However the Cockburn Association, the city’s long-running heritage watchdog, has called for a ban on concerts to avoid the risk of the park being turned into a “theme park”. It has also raised concerns about the prospect of more commercial events being staged in the gardens once a £25 million revamp is carried out.

    A council spokeswoman said: “The Edinburgh Summer Fiesta will be staged within the bandstand and is part of the vibrant series of public events that take place throughout the year in the bandstand. There will be no effect on Princes Street, screening or public access to the gardens.”

    A statement from Bounded Productions said: “We started speaking to the council last year about holding an event in the Ross Bandstand that would have wide appeal and not cost a fortune for tickets.

    “We use cover bands as we honestly think that they offer the quality of the musicianship without the egos of the original bands. The bands are the best in their field and take the music as serious as if they themselves were members of the original bands.

    “The venue was chosen to get the music out there and have as many folk hear the great music from back in the day. The tourist trade in Edinburgh is transient and trying to get a venue that would attract folk on the day was difficult. We hope the music itself will attract folk and we hope to make this an annual event.”

    Cockburn Association director Terry Levinthal said: “We haven’t heard of this event, but that’s not surprising as the process for approval is opaque and not in the public eye.”