MAJOR outdoor events are set to be staged
year-round on Edinburgh Castle's Esplanade under
plans to create new multi-million-pound
An "Easter Tattoo", sporting
events, historical re-enactments and rock, pop
and classical concerts are all being mooted for
the historic site.
They are being considered as part of plans to
replace the ageing seating structures, which
hold 8500 spectators per night during the
Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
It is thought events - including major
concerts at Hogmanay - could be peppered
throughout the calendar as early as 2008 if
funding for the new-look arena, which is
expected to cost at least £20 million, can be
Council leader Donald Anderson today said it
was "essential" the project went
ahead, declaring it to be of national
Historic Scotland, which runs the Castle, is
expected to commission a feasibility study by
the end of the year which will produce plans for
the new stands.
It is thought the study will explore options
for storing them below the Esplanade, so as not
to avoid ruining the look of the area or
reducing the number of parking spaces available.
It currently takes around two months to build
the seating structures in the run-up to the
Tattoo and another five to six weeks to take
them down again.
The Evening News revealed last month that
removal of scaffolding from the Esplanade this
year had been delayed until early November after
a contractor went bust.
It later emerged that the Tattoo and Historic
Scotland had been rapped by the Health and
Safety Executive for workers' lives being put at
risk because of arrangements in place during the
erection of the stands this year.
An insider said: "There is huge
potential to have events throughout the year,
such as boxing matches, classical music
concerts, Beating the Retreat-type events and
even jousting tournaments Historic Scotland
stage a lot of different events at their sites
throughout the country, but it's just not
possible to do anything on the Esplanade outwith
the Festival period in Edinburgh because of the
"That would all change if these new
seats could be put up within a week or so."
Brigadier Melville Jamieson, producer of the
Tattoo, said: "We would love to bring some
kind of event to the Esplanade around
Easter-time if we could get this new set-up
"The seating structures that we use at
the moment are perfectly safe, but this would
obviously dramatically reduce the amount of time
it takes to put them up and down and it has the
huge potential to be able to cater for other
events throughout the year."
Mark Mackie, director of Regular Music, the
promoters of a string of major concerts at the
Esplanade over the years, said:
"We think Edinburgh Castle Esplanade is
simply the best outdoor venue in the world.
"We wouldn't want to cheapen it by
putting on too many events and it would be
important they were good quality concerts, but
it would be great if this came off."
Councillor Anderson said: "We would have
to be careful about the number of events staged
at the Esplanade, but obviously the impact the
scaffolding has there would be greatly reduced
with the creation of these new stands.
"The current arrangements are not