At risk Fly Open Air festival set to go ahead after council backing

An under-threat music festival is set to go ahead in Princes Street Gardens after councillors gave their backing amid new rules over how open spaces are used.

Thursday, 20th June 2019, 12:54 pm
The Fly Open Air festival has been staged in Princes Street Gardens for the last three years without any problems with the city council.

Organisers of the Fly Open Air event, which has taken place at the Ross Bandstand for the last three years, appealed to the council’s transport and environment committee in a “desperate plea” to save the dance music event from the axe.

Tom Ketley from Fly Open Air, addressed councillors in a bid to “try and save our business” amid restrictions being imposed by parks bosses and councillors that could see its 3,000 capacity cut by one third.

Mr Ketley said the “suggested layout changes do not work for us”.

He added: “Our event is not only safe for the people that attend it but safe for the people that want to use the park when it’s on.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Green Cllr Chas Booth quizzed organisers over noise complaints at last year’s event.

He said: “We absolutely hear what you say about the importance of this event. We also get criticism in the press about privatising public green spaces.

“In many respects people won’t be able to access the gardens from many of the entrances. In some respects, are you not privatising a public space? There have been complaints in the past about noise and other aspects from local residents.”

Mr Ketley said this year, the event will feature a “state-of-the-art sound system” that will mitigate noise problems.

Independent Cllr Gavin Barrie tabled an emergency motion for the event to go ahead as planned this year. Cllr Barrie said he “shares the concerns” of the organisers”.

He added: “It doesn’t propose the park to close. There’s no blocking of views of the gardens or the Castle.”

Councillors agreed an amended motion which supports the event taking place “in principle” as planned – with permission needed from the council’s sub-licensing committee.

Conservative Cllr Nick Cook, said cultural offerings in the city should be “for everyone” and “not just the middle ages and middle classes”.

He added: ” We should be doing all we can to encourage entrepreneurs in this city.”

After the motion was agreed, Cllr Barrie said: “I’m delighted that the transport and environment committee has approved in principal that the Fly Open Air concert in September should go ahead in Princes Street Gardens West.

“This is a very significant and demonstrative way of showing council support for our young people.”