Comic Con Scotland: Film and TV convention in Edinburgh called off due to curbs on indoor events

A huge film and TV convention in Edinburgh has been called off less than a month before it was due to be held after falling victim to Scotland's strict Covid rules for indoor events.

By Brian Ferguson
Friday, 17th September 2021, 7:24 pm
The Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston was due to host next month's Comic Con Scotland event.
The Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston was due to host next month's Comic Con Scotland event.

Clueless star Alicia Silverstone, Michael Madsen, whose films include Reservoir Dogs and Thelma & Louise, Titanic actor Billy Zane, Outlander favourite Graham McTavish and Scrubs star John C McGinley were all due to appear at Comic Con Scotland’s long-awaited comeback at the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston.

However, organisers say they were left with no option, but to take the “heart-breaking" decision to pull the plug due to uncertainty over the impact of rules on face coverings and vaccine passports.

They claimed nearly a third of ticket holders could have faced missing out due to the demand for attendees to be fully vaccinated. They have postponed next month’s event for at least 12 months.

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Clueless star Alicia Silverstone had been due to appear at Comic Con Scotland next month.

Other guests included The Vampire Diaries stars Paul Wesley, Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies, Back to the Future stars Lea Thompson, James Tolkan and Claudia Wells, and Only Fools and Horses stars John Challis and Patrick Duffy.

Previous conventions have featured appearances from Knight Rider and Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, Flash Gordon actor Sam Jones, Gremlins star Zach Galligan, and Ghostbusters actors Ernie Hudson and William Atherton.

The official announcement said: “Following a meeting with the Royal Highland Centre, it’s with huge regret that we are forced to postpone this event.

“We realise this will be a massive disappointment to so many of you and it is absolutely gutting for us. We’ve been left with no other option.

“We always had huge challenges with this show, but with ticket sales at record levels we so badly wanted to complete it for the fans. However, the circumstances have made that impossible.”

Under existing restrictions, organisers of indoor events for more than 2,000 people must seek special permission from a local authority. Proposals for the introduction of vaccine passports from October 1 would apply to all unseated indoor events for more than 500 people.

The statement added: “Scotland has different rules regarding large indoor events than England. We had to submit a request to be allowed to run the event at all. There’s also an indoor mask mandate.

"We had hoped that the vaccine passports would replace these measures, but they don’t.

‘Therefore we potentially wouldn’t find out until the day before the event whether we can hold it or not. This makes it impossible to book dozens of flights and ask fans to travel to Edinburgh.

"We simply cannot run a Comic Con where people have paid for photos with someone wearing a mask. It’s not fair on you at all.

“The vaccine passport would’ve been workable and not postponed the event in itself, but it still means that roughly 20-30 per cent of ticketholders may not be allowed into the venue.

“We tried everything we could to make this show happen, but, taking all of the above into account, it just isn’t possible.”

A statement from the Royal Highland Centre said: “Following the latest government advice concerning mass gathering and events, we have been in lengthy discussions with organisers, promoters and events.

“As a result, a number of events over the forthcoming months have either been postponed or cancelled.”

Events director Mark Currie said: “The Comic Con Scotland cancellation is yet another victim to the ongoing uncertainty that is having a detrimental impact on large-scale events.

“The financial risks of continuing to plan for events without cancellation insurance will ultimately lead to many more having to postpone. This does not bode well for the sector.”