More like a bin strike than an arts festival - Kevin Buckle
Rows of posters attached to poles that exist already don’t look great but don’t take up any more space, but the large hoardings that have been dumped on pavements around the city centre not only take up valuable space but quite honestly don’t look great.
The West End has a monster hoarding but even the smaller ones are large beasts that certainly can’t be missed. The problem can be that while those in the shows design what they obviously hope are eye-catching posters the general non-festival public don’t find them attractive at all and indeed often quite off-putting. As if all these hoardings were not enough there are then large poster sites attached to the railings for the length of Princes Street Gardens.
The cherry on the cake though has to be the hoardings on the pavement outside the old HSBC building on the corner in the West End. Given the need for as much space as possible on the Princes Street pavements given the footfall, the absolute last thing needed in every sense are these huge and extensive hoardings and it is unfathomable why the council have given permision for them.
I haven’t actually had time to go up to the Royal Mile, I assume there is some sense of the Festival going on, but as far as Princes Street is concerned if it wasn’t for all the adverts you wouldn’t know the Festival was on. There are a couple of street performance spaces but given they are now beng used all year round, especially the one on Waverley Bridge, they are no real indication at all of the bigger event.
What is very frustrating as a local business in the city centre is that just a fraction of these advertising hoardings being available all year round to nearby businesses would be extremely useful. I’m also sure eateries just off the beaten track would love to have the opportunity to promote themselves during the Festival but that is simply not an option.
I would love to know who is making all the money from these hoardings too as you would have to hope the council were at least receiving a sizeable income. I just fear that as when the council give a market licence at a relatively cheap price it is the operator that makes all the money and the public purse that loses out.
As if to rub it in one of the large hoardings was dumped at the Waverley Bridge entrance to my shop and if it hadn’t been for the vigilant centre management pointing out it was meant to be further along it would have been left there.
With there now being enough accommodation to cope with both the Festival and those simply wanting to come to Edinburgh for a holiday there needs to be far more thought given to those who are not here for the shows and would maybe prefer not to have a Festival poster in every photo they take of a famous landmark. As one customer who is a regular visitor commented, all the clutter reminded him of the bin strike.