Festival Square

Venue details
Lothian Road
Edinburgh Area
Fringe Venue
About the venue

Large classic town square has the kind of space that you might expect of an italian piazza. In other parts of town, this much open space would be a natural spot for performers and punters to gravitate to.

The main problem is that the square is next to a very busy road - Lothian Road - with a large hotel and businesses around it, which reduces its appeal compared to somewhere like St Andrew Square Garden, with its less hectic New Town setting and landscaped gardens.

However, the Square still sees varied use for markets, booths, and as a pop-up entertainment space, for shows like the major touring exhibition Van Gogh Alive (from 17 March to 17 July 2022), an immersive sound and large-scale image show based around the Dutch Master's iconic artworks.

The role of the Square has been the subject of many discussions. The Council erected a large screen in the middle of it in 2009 which beamed BBC news 24/7. The Council decided to turn the screen off in 2013 as public interest didn't justify the £26,000 power and maintenance bill.

Plans are afoot to build a new 5-screen Filmhouse, and cafe in a multi-level tower in Festival Square. 

The Square has been used for occasional public screenings, and Fringe and festival shows.

A path found, at the North-West corner of the Square, curves along new office blocks and upmarket coffee shops and terraced bars, built in the traditional neo-classical fashion of the New Town. it provides a quiet shortcut to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and Haymarket/Fountainbridge.


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