Festival activity on George Street for 70th anniversary summer

Plans for George Street have been revealed as Edinburgh takes its Festival celebrations to the New Town.

This summer, for the 70th anniversary year of the Festivals, the City of Edinburgh Council has agreed to a range of summer festival activity on two separate blocks in George Street.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival will be expanding onto George Street for the first time, with two new event spaces (the Bosco Theatre and the Greenhouse), a patio seating area, box office and pop-up Book Shop between Charlotte Square and Castle Street.

The area will include plenty of space for relaxing and anyone is welcome to pop along and enjoy the atmosphere in a relaxed and informal seating area, covered by a stretch tent. Light snacks and hot and cold drinks will be available during the Book Festival hours of 9.30am to 9.30pm, while restaurants and bars on the north side of the street will expand onto the street.

A further bar and stretch tent with seating will be provided at the end of the block to complement Fringe shows inside The Freemasons Hall. Being run by Salt ‘n’ Sauce Productions, this area will feature entertainment in the Bosco tent from 4 to 8 August, and in the late evenings throughout August when not in use by the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

From Frederick to Hanover Street, the Assembly Theatre will run an exciting Fringe programme which will extend from inside the Assembly Rooms to the southern half of the street. A series of geodomes outside will offer visitors digital interactive experiences. An additional performance space on the street, plus a vintage mobile cinema, will add to the varied programme. Additional bar space will be also provided outside, with a seating and relaxing area.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The Council is delighted to support the delivery of another fantastic festival hub in the New Town. This summer, in support of the pivotal 70th anniversary year, we are especially excited to help the Book and Assembly Festivals expand their programmes on George Street. We are keen to support the continuing development of Festival activity to the New Town and this summer, George Street is set to be a fantastic place to be to soak up Edinburgh in August.”

Roddy Smith, Chief Executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh is an enormous draw during August as the world’s leading Festival City, and it is vital that the city centre plays a big part in that.

“Essential Edinburgh has an important role to play in making sure the area is animated, that there is a lively atmosphere to provide the best of platforms to draw visitors and locals alike in to the city centre, and then to ensure they enjoy the experience of being there. As ever, we will be doing all that we can to ensure this – and to that end we are delighted to work with City of Edinburgh Council, with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, with Salt ‘n’ Sauce and other operators to ensure there is a lot going on.

“We are also delighted that the Gilded Balloon is operating at the Rose Theatre, a fantastic addition to the offering in the centre, which is sure to prove popular and bring in strong audiences.”

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said “We are very excited about expanding the Book Festival into George Street and introducing our authors and events to a whole new audience.  With a mix of events in the Bosco and the Greenhouse, across both the adult and children & family programmes including performances, drop in exhibitions and workshops, we will certainly be making the most of this new space.”

Helping people to get around, a wide two-way cycle lane will run along the south side between Charlotte Square and Castle Street. This will act as a delivery lane between 6am to 9.30am. During this time, east bound cycles will be diverted on to the south side carriage way and no vehicles will be allowed on the south side of the road for safety reasons after 9.30am.

Heading east between Frederick and Hanover Street, normal arrangements for cyclists will remain in place with a 1.5m wide cycle lane also created around the site for cyclists heading west. These arrangements reflect input and advice from cyclists.

Preparations will get underway this weekend (Sunday 30 July) and the site active from Friday 4 August. The Book Festival opens on Saturday 12 August. Both blocks of George Street will be returned to normal by 12 midday on Monday 28 August.

For further details, visit Essential Edinburgh.


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