The Spiegeltent will not return to Brighton Festival Fringe 2010 - leaving fears that the popular Old Steine site could remain empty.

The Parlure Spiegeltent announced yesterday, just a day after the fringe’s official launch, that it will not take part in the festival in May Bosses have blamed financial problems, after making a loss at the event in 2008 and 2009.

The news is a blow to fringe organisers who have lost their second major venue in two years.

Last year Udderbelly bosses said they would not be bringing the upside-down purple cow back to the city, blaming poor mid-week ticket sales.

It also means the 46 acts which had been confirmed to perform at the Spiegeltent need to find a new venue.

A spokeswoman for the Spiegeltent said ticket sales in previous years had not offset the costs which include erecting the tent, providing 24-hour security at the site and staffing the venue.

Malcolm Haynes, the Parlure’s managing director, said: “It is with great regret that the directors have decided not to take part in this year’s Brighton Festival Fringe.

“Last year and the year before our losses were substantial and without the prospect of a sponsor it’s impossible to break even let alone profit.”

Nick Stockman, fringe executive manager, said: “Every year hundreds of venue operators, promoters and artists have to make the decision whether or not the fringe is viable for them. I’m happy to say that hundreds of them have decided it is this year and continue to make this event the third biggest of its kind in the world.

“The Parlure’s decision to pull out so close to the launch is regrettable for all those performers who were booked to play but we are working hard to help promoters place as many of those shows as possible.”