Top comedian claims Fringe flyposting is ‘polluting’ Edinburgh

Phil Nicol believes flyposting is tarnishing the Scottish capital. Picture: Robert Perry
Phil Nicol believes flyposting is tarnishing the Scottish capital. Picture: Robert Perry
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ONE of the Fringe’s leading comics has claimed Edinburgh is being “polluted” by the amount of flyposting by his fellow comedians.

Phil Nichol, a previous winner of the Edinburgh Comedy Award, claims the level of flyposting, which was legalised by the city council for the festival several years ago, has got out of control.

He claims flyposting has even become a “vanity project” for some stand-ups but questioned whether they were getting value for money for the huge costs involved in using official sites.

The city council admitted it has sanctioned more than 900 sites across the city this year but insists the city centre looks a lot better than it did when flyposting was unregulated.

It also insists it has not received any complaints about flyposting, after leading promoter Tommy Sheppard’s much-publicised campaign against the “ugly aluminium building site fences” around the city.

Canadian star Nichol, who won the Fringe’s top comedy award in 2006 after first making his name at the festival in the 1990s as a member of Corky and the Juice Pigs, spoke out at the Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide show, which has been exploring the high costs faced by performers and producers.

He said: “Edinburgh is an absolutely beautiful city, but I actually believe these posters are polluting the city now.

“Each year I am doing less flyers and posters. I think for a lot of comedians they have now become a bit of a vanity project. I find myself laughing at a lot of these posters when I am going home at night. I’d much prefer if we didn’t have them.”

Acclaimed comic Josie Long, speaking in the same debate, said she had been reluctantly talked into forking out £100 for four large posters during a previous Fringe, but had regretted paying for them.

“You see all these comedians that have these huge posters all over the city and you could sell every single ticket for every performance and still end up £1500 in debt.”

Deals offered by City Centre Posters, the firm that has the exclusive deal with the council to provide the 900 sites across the city, start at £60 for ten A3 size posters for Fringe shows.

They were brought in after the council was forced to introduce emergency measures to clean up the city after a major industrial dispute flared between the authority and its teams of refuse workers and street cleaners.

Previously the Royal Mile was the only area that had official flyposting sites. City Centre Posters is also responsible for tackling unofficial flyposting under its deal with the council.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Before the trial, there were hundreds of calls each festival complaining about flyposting.

“There have been significant saving per year in staffing, vehicles and associated costs in dealing with fly-posting. So far this year there have been no complaints.”

Cllr Cammy Day, the council’s community safety leader, said: “Our initiative has been a great success so far, saving private owners and taxpayers from having to pay for dealing with damaging flyposting.

“It essential for the success of festivals that promoters and venues can publicise events as part of the Edinburgh festivals experience.

“Our managed sites help them to do that in a way that avoids the costly, damaging and confusing clutter of previous years.”