EDINBURGH is playing host to a very different kind of festival this weekend – of erotic arts.
Around 700 people are set to attend events including Japanese bondage workshops, the flagship club night Torture Garden and revue spectacular Kabarett with burlesque and showgirl performers.
The Festival of Erotic Arts will also feature readings of erotic poetry and film screenings.
POPULAR SHOW – The Torture Garden Club night is one of the favourite attractions amongst festival goers
There will also be parties, the most notable of which will include a sado-masochist dungeon where revellers will be required to be kitted out in “latex, leather or rubber” or “all-out burlesque glamour”.
Critics of the festival have complained that it would attract a lewd and seedy element.
But the organisers insist that the three-day festival will demonstrate a “sleaze-free, sex-positive celebration of thriving artform”.
And Edinburgh City Council has approved the event, wishing festival attendees “a spanking good time”.
Venues include the Voodoo Rooms in West Register Street and The Caves and Banshee Labyrinth in Niddry Street.
White Space in Gayfield Square and the Pleasance Cabaret Bar will also feature erotic art exhibitions and revues.
An estimated two thirds of the available tickets have already been sold.
Festival director Donna McGrory said: “Our VIP tickets sold out within three weeks of going on sale and our short film screening, literary showcase and closing party events have sold out.
“We’ve a number of free events, including a talk by Edinburgh-based striptease artist Dr Gypsy Charms on Sunday.
She added: “With the erotic arts receiving worldwide interest and works of erotic fiction sitting at the top of bestseller lists, we believe now is the best time to present such a showcase.”
Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie wished the festival and its organisers well as he said: “It’s an adult festival and people will know what they are letting themselves in for and it presumably does what it says on the tin.
“I’m tied up at Ingliston with the Royal Highland Show and I’m sure I’ll be seeing lots of interesting things there.
“I hope everyone has a spanking good time.”
An interest for all things erotica has been sparked after EL James’ novel ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ shot to the top of the best seller lists in America and in Britain.
The book and its follow ups ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ and ‘Fifty Shades Freed’, which tell the tale of graduate Anastasia Steele’s steamy relationship with entrepreneur Christian Grey, are now thought to be the fastest selling adult books of all time.