Ladyboys of Bangkok to keep Fountainbridge site for Edinburgh Fringe 2019

The Lady Boys of Bankgkok will remain at their current home. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
The Lady Boys of Bankgkok will remain at their current home. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
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ONE of the Capital’s most popular festival cabaret acts is set to remain at its current home after plans to move to a new site were abandoned, it has been announced.

Organisers of the Ladyboys of Bangkok initially said they would return to their “adopted home” for their 21st year and take up residence at Pilrig Park.

The popular show was created for Edinburgh Fringe audiences and usually takes place at a space near Fountainbridge.

But plans for the move drew the ire of local residents and councillors, who claimed hosting the event on the green space contravened regulations that limit public events to 15 days.

Concerns were also raised over the impact on transport links surrounding schools and cemeteries, while the event would additionally have deprived a local sports club of space to play.

Event bosses stated they would be inhabiting the park from Friday 2 to Monday 26 August following a council consultation period carried out between December 14 and January 15.

No objections were lodged during the initial consultation, but several grievances were registered after the process closed.

However, a local authority U-turn now means the show is likely to go on at the Fountainbridge site after a new agreement was reached.

Transport and environment vice convener, councillor Karen Doran, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to identify a suitable site to allow the Ladyboys to welcome the crowds at Fountainbridge once again this summer.”

Since its debut in 1998, the show has welcomed more than three million people into their custom-built Sabai Pavilion to enjoy their own glittering brand of song and dance.

The best-selling show was forced to move from its prime location in the Meadows in 2015 after losing out to events giant Underbelly during a tendering process.

Organisers were given the opportunity to reapply for the site in 2017, but remained at Fountainbridge.

Greens councillor Susan Rae, who opposed the move, said she was delighted at the decision, but added she hoped a more suitable site in Leith could be found to welcome the show to the area in the coming years.

Last year residents were left outraged after Lothian bus firm closed all bus stops on Pilrig Street thanks to double parked cars and Cllr Rae has “huge concerns” over a similar 
situation should the Ladyboys of Bangkok take up residence.

Cllr Rae continued: “Pilrig Park obviously was not a suitable site for the event, so I’m delighted a space has been found elsewhere.”

“I’m quite opposed to the use of our public spaces in and around Leith for events of that size, but that being said, if we are able to find somewhere to host the Lady Boys of Bangkok in the future, I would be delighted to see the show take place here.”

SNP cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan added: “I am pleased that we have reached a solution to find a new location for this show, as the previous location in the much-loved Pilrig Park, which would have had a severe impact on local residents and adjacent schools as a result of the associated noise and crowds.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com