Hundreds back petition to save Fly Open Air festival in Princes Street Gardens

The Fly Open Air festival has been staged in Princes Street Gardens for the last three years without any problems with the city council.
The Fly Open Air festival has been staged in Princes Street Gardens for the last three years without any problems with the city council.
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Hundreds of dance music fans have backed a petition calling for an event in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens to be saved.

Organisers of the Fly Open Air event have urged fans to help fight a "threat" to the event's future at the Ross Bandstand, where it has been staged for the past three years.

More than 2400 people have backed the online campaign within hours of it being launched by organisers hoping to persuade council chiefs to ease strict new conditions on the event.

Promoters Fly Events say restrictions being imposed by parks bosses and councillors would see its 3000-strong capacity cut by a third and the event become "unsafe, overcrowded and unviable."

They say it is "grossly unfair" that new condition are being demanded of them as a result of "heightened scrutiny" on how the park is used since controversy flared over the staging of pop and rock concerts in the gardens last summer.

The peititon, launched by Fly Events director Tom Ketley, who has also written to every city councillor to plead for a rethink, insisting it will be impossible to stage the event at the Ross Bandstand under the current conditions.

The petition states: "Fly Open Air needs your support - diversity and youth music culture in our city is under threat.

"Over the past few months we have faced issues from city councillors who are trying to decrease the size of our event layout in the park - their suggestions would make our event space smaller and in turn unsafe, overcrowded and unviable.

"Increased scrutiny on events in Princes Street Gardens has stemmed from other large events causing issues in the park and even though our wonderful crowd have always danced at the Ross Bandstand with no issues at all we are now in gridlock.

"Our show allows the park to remain open to the public as well as a safe environment for event attendees.

"We want to continue to provide world renowned acts at The Ross Bandstand and keep Edinburgh on the festival map musically.

"We believe that for just one weekend a year young people should be allowed to enjoy youth music culture.

"Your voice counts - let it be heard."

Music tourism expert Olaf Furniss, founder of the international music business convention, Wide Days, which is held in Edinburgh every year. said: "Tom Ketley and the Fly Events team have done an amazing job developing their events in what is an extremely challenging environment dominated by large, established companies. I would urge councillors to seek a solution which prioritises an Edinburgh music company making a positive contribution to our city.

"At the very least Fly Open Air should enjoy the same conditions as the Summer Sessions, the Festival Fireworks Concert and Edinburgh Hogmanay's Concert in the Gardens."

Theo Kottis, one of Scotland's leading DJs and dance music producers, said: "Fly Open Air has brought excitement to the Scottish music scene - it has engaged the younger generation and allowed them to feel proud of what Edinburgh has become, up there with other renowned, pioneering cities across Europe.

"Playing a hometown gig in Princes Street Gardens has been a career highlight and I hope the city council would look to support youth culture in Edinburgh so that we can compete with the likes of Berlin and beyond."

Yasmin Galletti, head of production at London-based festival and event producers We Are The Fair, said: "We work with dozens of independent music festival promoters across the UK.

"The huge cultural importance of these kinds of events is evidenced by the exponential growth this sector of the industry is seeing and the popularity they have in cities and towns.

"Events like Fly Open Air which bring world renowned global talent to their events are providing a space for young people to socialise and enjoy unique and contemporary cultural experiences. These are such an important offering for today’s young people.