Shipping containers arrive on Royal Mile ahead of Santa's arrival for Edinburgh Christmas lights switch-on

The containers appeared on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 3:17 pm

Shipping containers have appeared on the Royal Mile ahead of Edinburgh's Christmas lights switch-on event.

The containers, which appeared on Tuesday between Gladstone's Land and George IV Bridge, are part of the Edinburgh Christmas Light Night Event, run by Underbelly. The event takes place from 3:30pm-5pm on Sunday, November 17th.

Passersby asking staff about the containers have been told only that they will be used as part of 'staging'.

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The event will be hosted by Arlene Stuart of Forth Radio, and include performances from Edinburgh’s Little Voices Big Stars, Rock Choir Live, the Royal Lyceum Theatre and Edinburgh Community Choir.

Performances will be broadcast on giant screens located on the street, and the event will culminate with a 'Santa visit' and fireworks as the Christmas lights are turned on.

Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, directors of Underbelly who produce Edinburgh’s Christmas, said: “We are very excited to be launching the seventh season of the ever-popular Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations with a free, family-friendly Light Night spectacular showcasing Edinburgh’s community spirit.

"Taking place for the first time on Royal Mile, the afternoon will see some of Edinburgh’s best community groups presenting their talents with Santa himself making a special, ‘flying’ appearance.

The containers on the Royal Mile. Pic: Ian Georgeson

"Edinburgh’s Christmas continues to prove to be loved by the locals with one-third of all visitors coming from this city and nearby. We hope Edinburgh’s Christmas will bring enormous joy to many and this year promises to be another festive spectacular and we hope to see you all on the Royal Mile this Sunday to kick it off!"

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, said: “Light Night brings Edinburgh together like no other event can. It’s a completely free, community-focused celebration people from all corners of the Capital take part in.

"This year, it’s also helping to raise money for the OneCity Trust. By providing grants to local organisations like Ama-zing Harmonies, who will showcase their skills on the night, the OneCity Trust works year-round to fight inequality and exclusion in Edinburgh. Join us on the Royal Mile for this feel-good start to the festive season and see Santa himself switch-on Edinburgh’s Christmas lights."

Unhappy Residents

The containers as seen from street level.

But some local residents are unhappy about not being consulted on the set-up for the event.

Local resident Laura Kerr noticed the containers, visible from the window of her residence on Lawnmarket, on Tuesday.

She said: "They started work in the area on Monday and on Monday night they started up a generator just outside my window, that went on all night."

She added: "I'm not very pleased, it would have been nice to have been consulted. It seems unnecessary and unsightly - if they need height why can't they have a couple of cherry pickers which drive up for the event and then just drive away again?"

Picture: Laura Kerr.

Twitter user Mary Gordon posted a photo of the containers as seen from the street.

She said: "This enormous thing is being erected in the middle of Lawnmarket nearly as high as surrounding buildings it is ‘staging’ wtf."

Lawnmarket was closed between George IV Bridge and Johnston Terrace for the event at 8am on Monday and will reopen on November 19 at 4pm. The shipping containers will be removed from the site after the event on Sunday.

The containers.