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Monday, 9 December, 2002, 16:32 GMT
Festival venues hit by fire
Firefighters outside the Gilded Balloon theatre in Edinburgh
Firefighters outside the Gilded Balloon theatre
Organisers of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival have said the event will go ahead as usual next year despite several venues being damaged by fire in the city's medieval heart.

One of the festival's main theatres, the Gilded Balloon, which hosts comedy, is likely to be pulled down after being destroyed in the fire, its owner has said.

We don't expect it to affect the festival in any way

Spokesman
Edinburgh Fringe
Several other smaller bars and clubs where festival events are held have also been damaged.

But organisers said the fire, which broke out on Saturday, only reached a very small number of festival venues.

"We don't know how bad the damage is yet to guarantee whether they will be usable for the festival next year," a spokesman told BBC News Online.

Gilded Balloon owner Karen Koren
Ms Koren said all the venue's records were destroyed
"But it would only be a handful of venues out of 183 that we had on board last year, so we don't expect it to affect the festival in any way."

The Gilded Balloon suffered internal collapse, and owner Karen Koren said she was resigned to its demolition.

She told BBC Scotland: "It is just devastating. I haven't had time to assess what we are going to do."

But not all of Ms Koren's six venues were destroyed and she added that the fire would not "close us down".

The blaze is thought to have begun above a nightclub also used for festival comedy, gigs and clubs, La Belle Angele.

Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board stressed that the Hogmanay celebrations next month were likely to be unaffected.

A spokesman said: "Although it is too early to judge the extent of the damage to the buildings concerned, visitors who have planned or are planning to stay in Edinburgh over the Christmas and New Year period should be reassured that the vast majority of the celebrations planned will take place as scheduled."

See also:

09 Dec 02 | Scotland
08 Dec 02 | Scotland
10 Aug 98 | Entertainment
26 Aug 02 | Entertainment
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