Spiegeltent loses Edinburgh Festival home

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The famous Spiegeltent has lost its home during the Edinburgh Festival.

Owners of St Andrew Square, where the festival venue has been since 2014, want to return the area to a "relaxation space".

Essential Edinburgh, which manages the garden, said the owners wanted to have activity that "did not adversely impact on the look and feel of the space".

The 97-year-old tent's owner, David Bates, criticised the decision as "ill-considered".

Roddy Smith, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: "We have been in discussion with City of Edinburgh Council and the owners of the Garden for some time about its ongoing use.

"These discussions have been aimed at finding a balanced and sustainable way of managing the use of the garden for the future.

"Everyone agrees that the garden is a superb green space in the heart of the city to be enjoyed by local people, visitors and those who work in the city centre all year round.

"In other words, it is a space for relaxation, as well as providing a pleasing interlude in the pedestrian journey through the city centre.

"There was unanimous agreement that - at appropriate times of the year - the garden will be animated with high-quality activity that will not adversely impact on the look and feel of the space, and that activity will be designed to minimise disruption to the garden."

Mr Bates said: "Final word that The famous Spiegeltent is no longer welcome in St Andrew Square was only received this month and despite intensive lobbying to the Edinburgh City Council and Essential Edinburgh, no viable alternative site has yet been confirmed.

"Consequently, major programming has already been forced to register with alternative venues, major international artists are no longer available, Fringe deadlines have passed, and availability of contractors, staff, equipment and infrastructure is severely compromised - after 33 years, and in the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festivals, it looks like time has finally run out for Edinburgh's Grand Old Dame.

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