Editorial: How to avoid The Curse of the Gardens

BRAVE are the Edinburgh Festival Fringe promoters in proposing to create a new event venue in Princes Street Gardens.

An immediate problem is the vigorous opposition from those who believe the gardens are sacrosanct and should be kept as a haven of peace. What chance would there be of that once a giant Fringe marquee is erected, with pop bands, large crowds and an entourage of fire-eaters, acrobats and exhibitionists on stilts?

The second spectre is The Spectre – or the Curse of the Gardens. This has befallen previous event promoters. The venue seems to have a jinx, leading to frequent disappointment through inclement weather, poor ticket sales, rows with Edinburgh City Council – and sometimes a combination of all three.

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While the gardens offer tranquillity for most of the year, it has long been a recognised venue for musical performances. The Ross bandstand is testimony to this, so allowing the Fringe into this area would not be precedent-setting. It has the advantage for the organisers of keeping the heart of the Fringe in the centre of the city. So long as part of the gardens can be cordoned off to ensure there is a quiet place to sit, there should be no problem.

However, less easy to resolve is The Curse of the Gardens for event organisers. A co-operative city council would be key to success.