Paloma Faith first to sign up for Edinburgh '˜Summer Sessions' gigs

Major pop and rock concerts are to return to the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Paloma Faith. Pic: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
Paloma Faith. Pic: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Up to eight open-air shows will be staged in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle under a new series of “Summer Sessions” gigs in August.

The organisers of the T in the Park and TRNSMT festivals have confirmed they will be staging shows in the arena for the first time in over a decade.

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British pop diva Paloma Faith has already been confirmed as the first act for the line-up for the shows at the Ross Bandstand.

Gigs by Franz Ferdinand, Faithless, Simple Minds and Belle and Sebastian were staged there previously by DF Concerts.

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It has confirmed an expansion of the Summer Sessions from Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park, which has featured Noel Gallagher, Eminem, Paolo Nutini, Calvin Harris and Biffy Clyro over the last five years.

However DF has not used gardens since the demise of the T in the Fringe programme it used to organise in Edinburgh in August.

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The city council has agreed to allow concerts to be staged over two weeks to ensure they are financially viable due to the need to erect and dismantle full stage and production facilities around the existing crumbling bandstand, which dates back to 1935.

A music industry insider said: “The only way to make concerts like this stack up is to have a run of them. A lot of infrastructure will have to be put in place in the gardens, but the cost can be spread across a series of concerts.”

The gardens have only been used in August for the fireworks finale of the Edinburgh International Festival in recent years. The only outdoor concerts staged by DF Concerts in the city in recent years have been at Murrayfield Stadium.

Their new Edinburgh Summer Sessions series has been confirmed months after a winning design was chosen for a new £25 million concert arena in Princes Street Gardens.

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The council has agreed to join forces with the Ross Development Trust, which has been set up by a hotel developer to help pay for a replacement bandstand.

A spokeswoman for DF Concerts said: “We’re still finalising our plans at the moment, but we are looking to stage between six and eight shows in Princes Street Gardens during the main festival season. We have used the gardens before and we’re looking forward to the heart of the city this summer.”

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A spokeswoman for the city council said: “We are continuing to speak with DF Concerts about the prospect of an exciting new event, Edinburgh Summer Sessions, at the Ross Bandstand. It would be a great addition to Edinburgh’s live music offering this year.”

There are records of live music being staged in the gardens as far back as 1853 and the first bandstand was erected in 1877 – built as a gift to the city by whisky tycoon William Henry Ross.

The city council kick-started moves to replace the existing bandstand in 2004 after the cancellation of the previous Hogmanay celebrations, including the annual Concert In The Gardens, due to bad weather. However the project stalled due to concerns within the council about a lack of funding to get a replacement off the ground.