Venues Cast Doubt On Edinburgh Festival Fringe Plans

Leading venues are warning that this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year is in serious doubt over a lack of any guidance for how shows can be staged safely. 

Taking place throughout all of August, Edinburgh’s fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world. 

In regular years the festival features productions in over three hundred locations, including the Assembly Roxy and Summerhall. However, key venues have warned that time is running out to ensure that shows can return safely this summer. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously announced that live events will be able to return in Scotland from 17 May. Fringe venues are seeking financial support from the government if they have to operate with a socially distanced audience, amongst concerns that only outdoor events will be able to happen. 

Assembly founder William Burdett-Courtes told The Scotsman that “it very much looks like by the time we get to August things will have opened up, but I’m not sure anyone is getting enough clarity at the moment for us to plan and deliver a festival.”

Earlier this month, Greenside Venues announced that they will not be operating a physical version of their Fringe programme this year, saying “with so many unknowns and such little time we’ve simply ran out of time to meaningfully make a physical programme in August a possibility; even on a much smaller scale.”

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh International Festival has announced its plans for returning this August, planning shows across a number of temporary outdoor venues.

Words by Em Whitehouse.

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Image: © Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

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