Ross Bandstand in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens is for the many, not just a few – Steve Cardownie
Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day’s assertion that the Ross Bandstand in West Princes Street Gardens should be used for more concerts was music to my ears. After all, what is a bandstand without bands? A stand!
He has said that he wanted to explore ways of reviving the use of the bandstand as a “gathering place” in the heart of the city. He also wanted to revisit the nonsensical, arbitrary limit on staging large-scale concerts which was recently introduced by the council. The four-show limit on events with a capacity of 6,000 and 10,000 was bureaucratic lunacy. The gardens are for everybody and that includes the members of the public who make up concertgoers!
No doubt the worthies up at the Cockburn Association were choking on their muesli and coconut crepes when they read Cammy’s comments on Monday morning. What a way to start the week!
The three back-to-back concerts that were staged over the festive period were a resounding success with thousands enjoying the music against the magical backdrop of the castle. With such a marvellous setting, it would be a travesty if it was not allowed to fulfil it’s potential by providing a venue to compete with the best that the world has to offer.
I have no doubt that precautionary measures could be taken to protect the historic graveyard at St Cuthbert’s Parish Church at the West End and, with some much-needed investment, the bandstand should be upgraded to meet the requirements of a modern-day facility. However, the city council should not lose sight of the primary function of the bandstand – and that is to provide a stage for bands.
I have been fortunate to see many of the artists that have performed there over the years – ranging from BB King and Tony Bennet to the Bay City Rollers and Blondie – and I have fond memories of them all. So I hope that Cammy Day is successful in his endeavours to reverse the policy of the council and that the bandstand will continue to play its part as a venue to be enjoyed by all – not just a few.