Edinburgh's Christmas market 2022: Council chiefs 'confident' events will go ahead despite organisers pulling out

Council chiefs say they are confident that Edinburgh’s Christmas markets and funfair will go ahead despite the company in charge of organising the events pulling out.

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German firm Angels Event Experience Ltd were awarded the contract to run the annual “Edinburgh’s Christmas” festival in June, but have now told the council they can no longer deliver it.

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The council is now in talks with Unique Events, the Edinburgh-based company which is already producing Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, about rescuing the Christmas activities. An all-party group of councillors is expected to meet next week to approve plans.

Under the contract which was awarded, Angels Event Experience was due to pay the council £5,473,500 for the right to run the festive events and attractions for three years with two optional 12-month extensions.

Council leader Cammy Day said: “Positive discussions are ongoing around delivering Edinburgh’s Christmas for the city this year and I’m confident we’ll be able to offer a great programme, including the ever-popular Christmas markets, funfair and some exciting new attractions. We’ll make a further announcement early next week once councillors from all parties have had the chance to view the plans.”

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But the opposition SNP group complained the council’s Labour minority administration had failed to update other parties on how preparation for the festive activities were going and accused them of “hushing up” the problem.

SNP culture and communities spokesperson Amy McNeese-Mechan said: “The uncertainty caused by the withdrawal of Angel Events will be a major concern to the many Edinburgh residents who enjoy the Christmas festival. The potential loss of £5.5m in revenue will also seriously undermine the council's ability to make the finances stack up.

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The Christmas market and funfair are favourite features of Edinburgh's Christmas. Picture: Ian Rutherford.

“There was absolutely no advance warning that this was happening. The SNP secured an assurance in June that councillors would be regularly updated on progress but that simply has not happened – we have not had a single briefing. That is basic accountability. The administration need to explain why they have not shared any information as committee instructed.

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“Work is now ongoing to find an alternative provider who can rescue the situation. We need assurances that the views of the huge numbers of Edinburgh residents that came through the consultation will be respected. The administration needs to guarantee that now.”

She said Labour had serious questions to answer about how this situation had developed and what they knew and when. “When did they become aware that it was going wrong and why did they hush it up?”

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Council leader Cammy Day says the Christmas market, funfair and other events will go ahead. Picture: Ian Rutherford.