Erotic art festival whips up frenzy

The Torture garden club night is one of the festival's favourite attractions. Picture: Alex Hewitt
The Torture garden club night is one of the festival's favourite attractions. Picture: Alex Hewitt
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AN X-RATED arts festival featuring Japanese bondage workshops is set for a sell-out, with more than 700 expected to attend.

Tickets for the Festival of Erotic Arts, taking place at city venues this weekend, have been so popular that many of the risqué shows are already at capacity.

Organisers say the most popular events include flagship club night Torture Garden and revue spectacular Kabarett, which boasts burlesque and showgirl performers.

Critics previously warned the event would attract a seedy element – a claim refuted by organisers who said the three-day festival represents a “sleaze-free, sex-positive celebration of a thriving artform”.

The festival will feature readings of erotic poetry, film screenings and parties, the largest of which will include a sado-masochist dungeon and require revellers to wear “latex, leather or rubber” or “all-out burlesque glamour”.

End-of-night parties will be hosted at the Voodoo Rooms in West Register Street and The Caves and Banshee Labyrinth in Niddry Street. White Space in Gayfield Square and the Pleasance Cabaret Bar will also house erotic art exhibitions and revues.

About two-thirds of tickets have been sold in Edinburgh or the central belt of Scotland.

Festival director Donna McGrory said: “Ticket sales are going very well. Our VIP tickets sold out within three weeks of going on sale and our short film screening, literary showcase and closing party events have sold out.

“We’ve a number of free events, including a talk by Edinburgh-based striptease artist Dr Gypsy Charms on Sunday, Saturday’s craft fair and, of course, our flagship Visual Art exhibitions running across the weekend. We’re excited about our launch weekend and are very happy to report a high number of ticket sales and artist participation at the festival.

“With the erotic arts receiving worldwide interest and works of erotic fiction sitting at the top of bestseller lists, we believe now is the best time to present such a showcase.”

Deputy council leader and festivals champion Steve Cardownie wished organisers every success.

“It’s an adult festival and people will know what they are letting themselves in for and it presumably does what it says on the tin,” he said.

“I’m tied up at Ingliston with the Royal Highland Show and I’m sure I’ll be seeing lots of interesting things there. I hope everyone has a spanking good time.”