Organisers pull plug on week of Christmas drive-in movies at Edinburgh Airport

Organisers have pulled the plug on a series of festive drive-in movie screenings due to be staged at Edinburgh Airport in the run-up to Christmas.

The first drive-in events at Edinburgh Airport were staged in August.
The first drive-in events at Edinburgh Airport were staged in August.

The week-long programme has been scrapped the day after the Scottish Government decided against easing coronavirus restrictions in the city.

Organisers say they were left with "no choice” but to call off the events, which were due to get underway on 18 December, amid huge uncertainty over whether Edinburgh would finally become a Level 2 area when the next review is held a few days earlier.

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The cancellations have been announced over a new policy, introduced to coincide with the government’s controversial five-tier system, that bans drive-in events at Level 3 and 4.

The government has turned down a plea from event producers Unique Events, who have joined forces with the airport and the Edinburgh International Film Festival to stage the events, for an exemption to be made to allow the screenings of films like Home Alone, Frozen, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Holiday to go ahead.

However the government has refused to alter its stance saying that the events would “still have the congregating factor of large numbers travelling to a single destination for a prolonged period of time, which would increase the likelihood of transmission through the use of shared services such as toilets and catering.”

The ban has been imposed despite the government giving the green light for drive-in events to go ahead in July due to public health advice that the risk of transmission was “sufficiently low” if mitigation measures were in place.

An official announcement from Unique Events said: “It is with great regret and a huge amount of frustration, that following the announcements yesterday from the Scottish Government, including Edinburgh remaining locked in Level 3, unfortunately we have no choice but to cancel the drive-in movies at Edinburgh Airport which are scheduled for next week.

A week of drive-in movies was due to be staged at Edinburgh Airport in the run-up to Christmas. Picture: Lloyd Smith

"We know that this decision will come as a huge disappointment to all who have purchased tickets and were hoping to enjoy some safe, festive fun at the end of this difficult year, but we must adhere to public safety restrictions and guidance to speed recovery in 2021.

"Ticket-holders will receive an automatic refund from point of purchase in line with their terms of purchase.”

Unique Events director Al Thomson added: “Across Scotland, drive-in events are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks to provide safe, family entertainment leading up to Christmas.

"These are small events accommodating up to 200 cars per screening, which are produced in highly controlled environments, with audiences enjoying entertainment from within their own vehicles and posing negligible public health risks.

“In only permitting drive-in events in Level 2 areas, ticket-holders find themselves awaiting confirmation of regional safety levels in incredibly short timescales to determine if they can or can’t attend due to travel restrictions, which results in large numbers of last minute refunds for event producers, which simply make events unviable to deliver.

“The reasoning behind the decisions are risks made on assumptions of audience behaviour at the event, all of which have measures in place to mitigate this risk and also that these events would attract people from surrounding regions or encourage car sharing.”

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