Leith Festival called off 100 years after port's controversial 'merger' with Edinburgh

Edinburgh's longest-running festival has been called off due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Leith Festival can trace its roots back to 1907.Leith Festival can trace its roots back to 1907.
Leith Festival can trace its roots back to 1907.

Organisers of Leith Festival, which can trace its roots back to 1907, have announced that "too much is up in the air" for the annual week-long event to go ahead as planned in June.

This year's event would have marked the centenary of the controversial merger of Edinburgh and Leith, which went ahead despite the major of people in Leith voting down the move.

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Organisers hope they may be able to stage an alternative event in September, but say they will not make a decision until June.

The festival, which features a pageant down Leith Walk and a gala day on Leith Links, also sees theatre, music, visual art and community events staged around the historic port.

A statement issued by the festival, which is staged in early June every year, said: "Sadly with all that's going on just now, we won't be able to hold the event this June. It's not responsible and too much is up in the air.

"We are going to keep the door open to holding an event of some kind in September. We might well not be able to do this. We just don't know right now.

"We should have a clearer picture by June and we'll let everyone know then. Hopefully summer will start after all - just a bit late. Leith Festival will persevere.”

Nick Gardner, chair of Leith Festival's committee, said: “We’re really gutted that we can’t go ahead in June.

“We all need things to look forward to and cheer us up.

“In June, we’ll take a good, careful look at what, if anything, Leith Festival could deliver in September.”