First organized in 2003 by local adult retailer Vincent Delicato, the three-day trade fair was a hit in its inaugural year, drawing more than 10,000 fans to the Corn Exchange, the city’s festival grounds.
On the heels of financial success, the event was granted a license for a second year, but then things started to go awry.
First, the Demarco family, who own and operate the Corn Exchange, wrangled control of the festival from Delicato and launched a large-scale advertising campaign that stirred the ire of anti-adult activists.
Ads billed Festival Erotique 2004 as “The Second Coming” and featured women in provocative poses, prompting Scottish Women Against Pornography to pressure the city to revoke the license and lodge a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority.
The Authority responded by ordering that the event’s website be blocked from billboards.
Despite the disputes, the festival still drew more than 15,000 attendees, which would have seemed to make it another success, except all the extra traffic caused the city’s bus workers to threaten a strike.
In the end, the Demarcos decided Festival Erotique was more trouble than it was worth and shelved plans for a third event.
“There’s not much use in doing an event which doesn’t make any money,” a spokesperson said.
This was all good news to Delicato, who said he made plenty of money from the inaugural event and plans to revive the festival next year at a different location, now that the Demarcos are out of the picture.
“People were just not staying last year,” he said of Festival Erotique 2004’s failure. “There wasn’t enough to see, and there wasn’t the same atmosphere. The whole situation was handled poorly by the Corn Exchange.”