Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 17:36 UK

Blow for festival as tent pulled

By Angie Brown
Edinburgh reporter, BBC Scotland news website

The Famous Spiegeltent
The Famous Spiegeltent is pitched all over the world

The Famous Spiegeltent will not be at this year's Edinburgh Festival, its owner has told BBC Scotland.

The antique tent in past seasons has been pitched in the capital's George Square Gardens and has become a key feature of the Fringe.

But now David Bates, who owns the tent, said he was taking it off the road to carry out "essential maintenance".

He said the £150,000 renovation of the 1920 tent will involve creating new walls and windows for it.

Mr Bates told the BBC Scotland News Website: "I know people will be really disappointed but it is not a simple equation to make it work.

It is an iconic piece of the Edinburgh Festival and will be back next year
David Bates
Speigeltent owner

"It is 89 years old and needs essential maintenance, which I have decided now is a good time to do, what with the economic downturn and Princes Street being dug up for the trams.

"It is an iconic piece of the Edinburgh Festival and will be back next year."

Mr Bates, who bought the tent from Scottish and Newcastle for hundreds of thousands of pounds, has been bringing it to Edinburgh since 1999.

He takes it all over the world and said it costs about £300,000 to hold it in Edinburgh over the festival.

The tent will be out of action for six months meaning it will also miss a festival date in Melbourne, Australia.

Specialist craftsmen in antique wood will be fixing the Spiegeltent.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh University, which has rented the site to the Spiegeltent for the last six years, said the university would know in the next few weeks what they were going to do with the space this year.

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