One of Edinburgh’s best-known fringe venues has come under criticism from its former tenants. Salt’n’ Sauce Promotions has said that the new digital theme for the Assembly Rooms is ‘somewhere between pointless and insulting.’
This year Assembly Rooms plays host to Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival (EDEF), run by impresario William Burdett-Coutts. The festival screens filmed productions of dance, theatre and music from all over the world, and also has virtual reality experiences. The two-year contract to run EDEF (with an option for a one year extension) was awarded to Burdett-Courts by Edinburgh City Council, who own the venue.
However, EDEF has not attracted as many visitors as expected, leading Salt’n’ Sauce Promotions – who controlled Assembly Rooms from 2012 until 2015 – to criticise Burdett-Coutts, claiming his festival has caused audiences to stay away from the area.
‘George Street is now dead a lot of the time, it looks a mess and all the work we’ve done trying to drag people away from the Old Town has gone backwards by five years,’ said a spokesperson for Salt’n’ Sauce Promotions.
‘To belittle what we’ve done in terms of digital development is just naïve,’ countered Burdett-Coutts in an interview with The Scotsman. ‘It will be something everybody engages with in future. I’d be the first to admit it has not had the enormous numbers I’d love to have through, but lots of people are very impressed with what we’re doing.’