Long-running Edinburgh fringe act The Ladyboys of Bangkok has lost out to Underbelly in a competitive bidding process to use a site on The Meadows at this August’s fringe.
The Ladyboys’ show was first brought to the fringe by producer and artistic director Phillip Gandey in 1998. Its tented pavilion has been situated east of Middle Meadow Walk at every fringe since then.
The company has always been a favourite with Edinburgh residents according to Gandey, who told The Stage they make up at least 80% of the fringe audience.
But the site, on which the performers also camp, has been the subject of controversy, with the company winning a ruling from the City of Edinburgh Council in 2009 that it could stay on The Meadows for up to four weeks at a time. Local association Friends of the Meadows argued that the Ladyboys had been leaving the park in a state of disrepair.
A commercial tendering process was started last August following the launch of an Edinburgh parks events manifesto. Concerns were raised that a commercial rent was not being charged for use of the Meadows site.
Underbelly has now been announced as the preferred bidder for the site and will still be required to apply for licensing of their use of the Meadows, according to the city environment convener Lesley Hinds.
Hinds said: “The tender took place because we want to make sure the council receives the best deal possible for leasing the site during the city’s busiest time of year.
“More money is expected to be raised and will be reinvested in the Meadows and other parks, which is much welcomed.”