Two trapeze artists have come under fire for a stunt they pulled to publicise their act, Dolls, at the Edinburgh Fringe. The pair hung their trapeze from George IV Bridge and proceeded to display their skills.
As a manufacturer and retailer of aerial circus equipment, Firetoys can't condone this stunt as our focus is always on safety. The stunt was not authorised by the Edinburgh council and police were actively avoided, according to the press. It seems very unlikely that the artists had confirmed with a structural engineer that the railings they rigged from were suitable for the loads they were applying to it, which is essential wherever you're rigging from.
Much of the criticism of this stunt has focussed on what would happen if the performers fell. Assuming the railings they rigged from were strong enough, it's unlikely that these professional performers would attempt anything they were not 100% comfortable with. Some pictures also seem to show additional safety lines. Arguably, their risk of falling was extremely low.
Perhaps the bigger concern is the distraction they posed for drivers. The picture shows the taxi driver on the left taking his eyes off the road to look at the artists. The passenger of the car in the foreground also looks angry about something. On such a busy road, with both pedestrians and a lot of traffic, this could easily have caused an accident.
However, there are many people commenting on social media that crazy stunts like people running naked through the town and trapeze artists performing from bridges is part of the wonder of the Edinburgh Fringe and that the press coverage is an over-reaction and a symptom of a "mummy state". One onlooker said that most passers by "thought [the stunt] was great".
The other issues this stunt has raised on the interweb is what sort of publicity this gives for aerial circus as a whole. One side argues that any publicity is good publicity and that this can only raise awareness of the aerial arts. On the other hand, this could give people the impression that aerial circus involves unnecessary risks and has little regard for safety. Of course, aerialist know this to be untrue as all good aerialists' and aerial teachers' primary concern is safety but if the public think differently it could put people off trying aerial circus.
It is worth noting that their were no incidents and no one was hurt. However, the police may launch an investigation into the stunt.
So, what do YOU think; irresponsible publicity stunt that endangered people or a bit of harmless fun where no one got hurt?