Talk of the Town: Merchant City has a Festival Village

Candleriggs Square has joined the outdoor economy. With Scotland slowly progressing through phase three of the easing of lockdown restrictions, repurposing outside space continues to be a priority.

The weather has not been cooperating but the council has been fast-tracking applications to allow businesses to compensate for their reduced inside capacity with more outdoor seating.


This has been particularly important for smaller bars, restaurants and cafes who may not be able to open otherwise.

Candleriggs Square represents something slightly different. There was an available space that has previously hosted food markets and performance. The directors of Keasim Events Ltd saw an opportunity.

An application was lodged with the local licensing board. Neighbouring businesses were raging. The board approved the plans.

The Merchant City Festival has been cancelled, but the Merchant City now has a Festival Village with a capacity for 300 people outside, which may run until the end of September.

It’s a test of the potential for new outdoor food and drink venues to coexist with businesses in the area and local residents. We may yet see more proposals before the end of the summer.

Things are now underway. No local street food brands are involved.

The food and drink side of things is run by a company called Pop-Up Pros. They operate Edinburgh’s Festival Village at Waverley Mall.

Bars and food counters dropped into the square are: Say Cheese, The Butcher Boy, Pizza Geeks, Drygate, West Brewery, Glaswegin and Tennent’s.

The village will be open every day between 11am and 10pm with tables available on a first come, first served basis.