To hear promoter Frank Hanlon talking you’d think the Highland Games at Meadowbank Stadium this Sunday is the only event in town. Not so, of course, but at entrance for a fiver (children free) it’s less expensive than many of the Fringe attractions. You pay at the gates.
Says Frank, a semi-retired businessman: “The stadium, too rarely used these days, has a 4000 capacity, all under cover, and it’s a full monty bill, so to speak. We’ll have the traditional acknowledged heavy events including hammer throwing, caber tossing and shot putt and in the track programme 100, 200, 800 and 1600 metres youths and seniors.”
Frank, pictured, undeniably has a feel for promotion in Edinburgh’s outdoors. He has staged the New Year Sprint for over 20 years, originally at Powderhall, and hopes to welcome a big crowd on Sunday, starting 10.30 with Highland dancing.
The stadium in its chequered history opened with the 1970 Commonwealth Games.
Who goes to Dumfries these days, short of Robert Burns diehards? And he’s never there now. The Bard’s long gone. But Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Searchers and PJ Proby will be there on October 18 with a “Sixties Gold” package tour that dodges Edinburgh.
Co-promoter is Nashville-based Glaswegian Robert Pratt, who brought Jack Jones to the Usher Hall and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. Rabbie did naughty things around Dumfries historians tell me, by the way.