Each summer since 1996, Edinburgh has had a temporary but instantly recognisable feature added to its architectural make-up: the Beck’s Spiegeltent. This year, however, the landmark will not occupy its customary position atop the Waverley Shopping Centre, and its very existence as a Festival venue has been seriously jeopardised.
The problem has arisen due to interior renovations at the shopping centre, authorised by its owners, Glasgow-based Scottish Metropolitan Property Ltd. The roof itself is not affected, but is currently being taken up by the storage cabins and site offices of the building contractors carrying out the work. For David Bates of Spiegeltent
Ent, the news that his organisation would have to look elsewhere to stage its music and comedy events came as
a huge shock.
’When Scottish Metropolitan took over the centre, I expected a rent increase,’ he told The List. 'But then I was told, just four weeks before the Fringe programme deadline, that the work would not be finished, and the site would not be available. I even offered to pay for any expenses occurred by the contractors in moving their offices elsewhere, but the offer was refused.’
Moving from such a popular location would present difficulties whenever it happened, but for Bates the timing could hardly have been worse. ’We planned to run from the Jazz Festival right through to the end of the International Festival, so we’ve pencilled in a lot of acts for 1999 already — performers from Australia, Canada, and the United States,’ he said. ’I’ve now had to contact
Mirror, mirror, on the wall: what does the future hold for the Beck’s Spiegeltent? 9
Hungry for success: Appetite
Students and young people are being targeted in a drive to increase the size and, above all, variety of audiences for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival To this end, ticket price discounts of up to 50% Will be offered to under-eighteens and those in full- tirne education from the moment the box office and booking hotline open
20 THELISY l- 1‘) Apr I999
on Saturday 17 April. PreViously, such concessions were only available on a stand-by basrs.
Festival director Brian McMaster was in surtably enthusiastic mode at the launch of the I999 programme, describing the line-up as ’gobsmackingly wonderful' He also feels this year’s event is better equped to deal With the problems caused by the Fringe kicking off and closing a week earlier than the International Festival.
’There was a certain amount of conquion among Our audience last year,’ he conceded ’But now we’re emphasising the fact that the International Festival runs until 4 September. We have some prestigious performances in that week, and the Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert Will take place on the final Saturday' The ViSit of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, With Sir Simon Rattle conducting, is also scheduled for that
them all and advise them that the best course of action might be to seek out other venues.’ That doesn't mean the end of the Spiegeltent is a given, . however. 'l’m just trying to be open with the performers, ' give them the chance to look elsewhere if they need to,’
Bates believes that the delay in building works has served as a convenient excuse for the centre's owners. ’I ; do think that secretly Scottish Metropolitan might be ' pleased not to have the Spiegeltent around,‘ he suggested. 'They’re a property development company 5 after all, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they have plans for a permanent addition at the Waverley.’
As The List went to press, Scottish Metropolitan were unavailable for comment. (Rob Fraser)
Ticket argains at Festival of youth
The Scottish Inquisition
Questions you don’t expect. This issue: Scott Conchar, Co-promoter; Sublime club, Edinburgh.
Tabloid or Broadsheet?
Broadsheet -‘ The Scotsman.
3 First arts/medialmusic related job?
I Promoted a club night called ’Fat
i Flavours’ in Manchester in ’94.
‘ Career highlight?
‘ After havrng twelve members of 808
State playing live at our first birthday,
I throWing an all-day and night outdoor l party for about 300 of the crazy folk
3 that frequent Sublime.
The award for a Lifetime
i contribution to Scottish Culture goes to?
3 Billy Connolly (funny dude).
Name a work of art that you cannot live without . ..
Film Baraka — totally trippy, Termination Duh 7973-- 7979 by Glen Brown and King Tubby because it is class rub-a- dub-dub and has the origins of trance, which is JUSI good mUSIC. Also He Was Once A Beautiful Woman by Marco Zaffarano -- it’s an amazing concept
Bates continued. 'But we do hope to find another central, album high-profile location. In fact, we’re already exploring “and a law you're proud to have possibilities, but there's nothing confirmed as yet.’ broken?
Too many to mention (less you ken, less the polls kenl).
You’re about to be exiled - where and how would you spend your last night?
In a bass bin at Sublime listening to Massimo Vavona playing a three-hour live set
Glasgow: City of Architecture 8: Design: but which Scottish building would you like to see destroyed? All of them, we should live in teepees. What motion would you make as an MSP?
Any motion that would get everyone to chill out and work for the common good.
Top Scot of the new Millennium? Mad Malky McKenzie.
What should be in the Millennium Dome?
A masswe cream bun
How do you see Scotland's future? Pretty good — if we all work together/we truly can become ’a nation once again (Compiled by Rob Fraser)
period lvlclvlaster insisted that a move 5 to fit in With the Fringe dates WOuId present major difficulties of its own. ’The simple truth is that most companies and performers I approach I actually want to come to Edinburgh in September,' he said,
Aside from the highlights previewed 3 in the last issue of The List lCa/edonia/ Catalonia and Turandot), the Festival also boasts a Scottish Opera production oi Verdi's Macbeth, which McMaster believes Will go on to take 3 Europe by storm, and an Edinburgh debut for Belgium-based company , Damaged Goods Their piece —- i ' Appetite -- Will transform the Festival Theatre using a vrsual art installation Punters Will not be admitted to the I building until minutes betore the performance begins but, once through the door, Will be instantly i plunged into a landscape created by : American avaiit oarde artist Ann Hamilton (Rob Fraser) :