NTBCC Objection to FLY Open Air Music Festival, 20th to 22nd September 2019

New Town & Broughton Community Council, along with the Old Town Community Council (OTCC) have registered their objection to Fly Events Ltd’s application for permission to run their all day Open Air Music Festival at West Princes Street Gardens on 21st / 22nd September (total event duration extended with set-up / de-rigging extending  to 18th to 24th September).

This was in response to a consultation from Edinburgh Council’s Parks & Greenspaces and an Emergency Deputation by the promoter at the council’s  August Transport & Environment Committee.  The decision to register a unanimous objection to this was agreed following discussion at the recent August NTBCC meeting (at which OTCC members were also present).

NTBCC have been concerned at the continued increase in commercial / ticketed events in Princes Street Gardens and their impact on the lives and amenity of local residents. This latest proposal involves restricting public access to a significant area – including the enclosed Ross Bandstand area but also extending significantly outwards from there and would also again (we assume) necessitate erection of barriers / curtain along Princes Street for reasons stated as being necessary for “public safety”.  The arrangement in place for the current series of Summer Session concerts is generally accepted to be inappropriate and perhaps an even more dangerous intervention by significantly reducing pavement width.

Furthermore, the extended performances will result in unacceptable noise levels / frequencies across the city centre for virtually a whole weekend, affecting nearby residents, shops and businesses.  Although the organisers have stated that their “state of the art sound system which will mitigate noise problems“, this has not been demonstrated and no noise monitoring is being stipulated nor any maximum noise levels for the event. Our view is that as the nature of the “boutique music” proposed is almost inevitably going to involve a high decibel level and a heavy bass beat

Much has been made of the fact that this event is aimed primarily at young people.  We fully accept that the Council has a responsibility towards young people and for providing them with amenities and facilities for enjoying appropriate cultural, entertainment and leisure activities, but this must not be at the expense of the wider population of the city.  To meet this particular responsibility the Council should accept that at present the city has no suitable venue and the provision of an appropriate venue is something that we would hope is given priority in any future budget.  A purpose built or appropriately adapted building outwith the city centre would also help in the current push to diffuse the various Festivals beyond the centre.

This may be a challenging  aim but given the lack of a suitable venue we urge that consent is not given to the Fly Music Festival.  The central open air venue of Princes Street West Gardens is not appropriate.

Further details on what is proposed can be seen in the OTCC  website posting  and the full text of NTBCC’s objection can be viewed  here.