THOUSANDS of Fringe visitors and performers will set up camp in a city park under plans to provide cheaper accomodation during the city’s festivals.
Inch Park has been identified as a potential site for campers to pitch their tent or hire a pre-pitched shelter.
The radical move marks the first time Edinburgh has opened up its parklands to festival-goers struggling to pay the inflated August hotel prices.
Run by firm Campingninja, the campsite will boast up to 350 tents as well as a performance space for travelling acts. The news was welcomed by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, which highlighted the importance of providing a range of accomodation for visitors.
A spokesperson said: “The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and attracts thousands of visitors to the city each summer.
“It is therefore vital that there is a vast range of accomodation options available to suit all needs and all budgets.”
Campingninja ran campsites for 8000 people during the Commonwealth Games at four different community centres in Glasgow last year and it hopes to work with local community centres again.
Plans for festival camping on the Meadows were rejected by city leaders in 2011 amid concerns campers would destroy the park.
The site will be open from August 7-31 with pitches starting at £12 per night. As well as Inch Park, the company are considering other as yet unidentified city sites. Bars and catering facilities will be set up in the park which will have a family zone and VIP areas, where perks include “posher toilets”. Campers will also be offfered a porter service.
Manuela Calchini, regional partnerships director at VisitScotland, said: “Value for money is a major priority for visitors, and important for everyone in our industry if we want our visitors to return.
“Last year, we had everything from live music in a library to drama in a boxing club, and this year, once again, we will show the world why Edinburgh is the world’s leading festival city.”
Last year’s Fringe enjoyed record-breaking ticket sales with almost 2.2 million seats sold for 50,000 shows during the month-long festival.
The influx of visitors is likely to provide a shot in the arm for nearby businesses in the Inch – an area traditionally neglected by festival tourism
Scott Neill, secretary of Gilmerton Inch Community Council, said firms at Cameron Toll and Inch Park Community Centre could experience an unlikely festival boon for the first time.
“I would want [visitors] to enjoy the park and the surrrounding area – as well as the whole city,” he said.
“It’s a great way of generating revenue in a green space, as long as it is returned to normal afterwards.”
The tent village should be located in the north of the park where it is further from residents’ homes, he said.
Council created tent village for G8 protesters
MORE than 2500 protesters filled a tent village in Craigmillar as they descended on the Capital for the G8 protests in 2005.
The city council previously set up the campsite at the Jack Kane Community Centre for campaigners taking part in protests organised by G8 Alternatives
to coincide with the G8 summit which was held at Gleneagles from
The summit coincided with a huge Make Poverty History rally which saw 200,000 marchers take to the streets of Edinburgh.
City chiefs said the controversial campsite was set up to prevent masses of anti-capitalist protesters from sleeping rough during the protests and the Live 8 concert.
Security guards were drafted in to patrol the site and shuttle buses were arranged to take people to the city centre.
However, residents complained about noise from the work place at the site which included installing portable toilets and digging a trench for an electricity supply to the camp.