THE popular annual Edinburgh Summer Sessions concerts have been cancelled for the foreseeable future amid health and safety concerns.

The major gigs, which have seen the likes of Tom Jones and Simple Minds headline in recent years, take place in Princes Street Gardens.

But with Historic Environment Scotland, the body responsible for Edinburgh Castle, concerned about the risk of rocks falling from the Castle, the council has issued new guidance on how the city centre space can be used.

Edinburgh City Council believes that smaller events could be put on in the area, but wider guidance will be tightened.

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The Scotsman reports that event organisers will be told: “It is primarily used as a park for the public to enjoy and this should be taken into consideration when preparing event proposals.

"Access to the park for the public should be maximised and the potential for damage to the gardens should be mitigated.”

Since the closure of one of the park’s main entrances at King’s Stables Road over concerns about rockfall, event planners  have been using an alternative route through the nearby St Cuthbert’s Church graveyard to bring in key infrastructure.

But according to the report, organisers will no longer be able to park in that alternative graveyard and vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes will not be given access. This is due to the environmental risks of using this route.

Now, the council plans to limit major events to just four every year.

The National:

Geoff Ellis, the chief executive of Summer Sessions organiser DF Concert, described the news as a “huge disappointment” and a “blow to the live music scene in Edinburgh”.

He told the Scotsman: “We overcame the understandable access concerns this year and delivered a fantastic, safe event and a safe build and break with environmental concerns very much at the forefront of our planning as they are for all DF Concerts’ events.”

He went on: “In the spectacular, unparalleled location of Princes Street Gardens, ESS has played host to a wide range of major artists from Tom Jones to Florence & The Machine including some wonderful Scottish performers from Simple Minds to Lewis Capaldi.

"Concerts at Princes Street Gardens will be sorely missed by tens of thousands of music fans every August.”

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Meanwhile, Edinburgh Council’s director of place Paul Lawrence said West Princes Street Gardens have been facing “additional pressures”.

“Prior to 2019, the King’s Stables Road entrance provided an access and egress route for event organisers, as well as parks staff, that reached as far as the bridge at the back of the Ross Bandstand,” he said.

"St Cuthbert’s churchyard is now the interim and sole access route for delivery of event infrastructure.”

It comes as a further blow to Edinburgh’s creative industries after it was announced that the charity behind the city’s International Film Festival and Filmhouse would be appointing administrators.

The festival and cinema ceased trading with immediate effect amid additional cost pressures.