Ms Hitchen maintains that despite applying for dispensation to hold the festival “a couple of months ago” the Council did not make a decision until last Thursday when approval was not given.
She contends that the festival had completely redesigned the site to match the council’s guidelines by” factoring in social distancing, queuing systems etc” to no avail. Ms Hitchen said her team “provided accurate drawings and worked out our capacities for our theatre spaces and venue and then put that through to council - it was gutting when the decision kept getting delayed until Thursday”. She spoke about her “devastation” at the decision, which was made just eight days before the festival was due to take place.
Her frustration was evident when she spoke further about the decision. “We contribute to the local economy by bringing food lovers into Edinburgh, millions of pounds are dispensed into travel links, restaurants, shops, hotels and more- this is a major event for the food and drink industry in the capital and across Scotland,” she said.
At a time when the importance of festivals to the city’s economy can not be understated, to say nothing about providing a welcome opportunity for people to enjoy themselves after a hellish time - this decision seems unfathomable. The Scottish Government has encouraged local authorities to help local businesses recover but this decision looks decidedly off message and an explanation is surely warranted.