Organisers hit out after calling off Edinburgh Airport drive-in screenings over 'Level 3' restrictions

A series of drive-in movie screenings at Edinburgh Airport have been scrapped due to the ongoing Level 3 restrictions in the city.

The drive-in events at Edinburgh Airport have been staged by the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Unique Events. Picture: Lloyd Smith
The drive-in events at Edinburgh Airport have been staged by the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Unique Events. Picture: Lloyd Smith

Organisers have been forced to pull the plug on screenings of classic films like Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Mamma Mia and Rocketman.

They have admitted that uncertainty over the four days of planned screenings, which at least 50 staff would have been working it, had led to the decision.

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However they have called for a rethink on new restrictions on drive-in events, which were introduced last week as part of the country’s new five-tier system of restrictions, despite the Scottish Government giving the “green light” for drive-in entertainment to go ahead before other live events earlier this year.

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However they are only now allowed to go ahead in Level 2 areas. Cinemas in Edinburgh and Glasgow have also been forced to close as part of the Level 3 curbs, which came into effect across the central belt last Monday.

Regular drive-in events at the airport were announced in June by the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Unique Events, who usually join forces to stage outdoor screenings in the city centre each summer. Tens of thousands of pounds of infrastructure was secured to allow six months of screenings to be staged.

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Promoted as “a safe and fun environment for people of all ages,” they already gone ahead in August and October, with more than 1800 tickets sold for the most recent run, which coincided with Halloween.

A statement from Unique Events said: “Due to the current Covid protection level in the Edinburgh area, we are not permitted to hold the Drive In Movies at Edinburgh Airport and have made the difficult decision to cancel the November event.

The first film screenings were held at Edinburgh Airport in August.

"We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment caused, but we must adhere to Scottish Government restrictions.

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"Ticket holders will receive a full refund from point of sale, and our ticketing team are busy refunding ticket holders now.”

Unique Events director Al Thomson said: "With only two weeks to go before the next event, it is not fair on our audiences to try to continue with it at the moment when we know it can’t take place.

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"But we are at a loss on the new restrictions on drive-in events, as they are proven to be one of the safest forms of entertainment at the moment. We are seeking clarification on the reasoning behind this decision.

"Other forms of event, such as illuminated walks are permitted, but within the drive-in format you are contained within your vehicle.

“In the summer, drive-in events were actively encouraged by the Scottish Government as the safest and most secure format for events. That’s why we have designed and invested heavily in this event.

"Outdoor cinema events are a proven format and they are building up a really good audience because people see how safe it is for them and their families to go to.

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"We’ve asked for clarification as to what drive-in events are now categorised like this when other events can take place.

"Right from the start, we have been really pro-active in looking at what is possible to deliver safely in terms of events, but it’s also been about providing work for people right through the supply chain.”

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