Future of Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 'real danger'

The future of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is "in danger" if the Scottish Government does not ease social distancing rules for venues within a fortnight, the organiser has warned.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 12:13 pm
Updated Saturday, 29th May 2021, 12:16 pm
Edinburgh Fringe shop and ticket office on Edinburgh's Royal Mile
Edinburgh Fringe shop and ticket office on Edinburgh's Royal Mile

The future of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is "in danger" if the Scottish Government does not ease social distancing rules for venues within a fortnight, the organiser has warned.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, urged ministers to drop the current two-metre rule for venues to the one-metre rule used in hospitality.

She said if this does not change, it places the future of the 75-year-old festival under threat.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ms McCarthy told The Times Scotland: "Within another two weeks, it's going to be impossible for any [Edinburgh promoter] to put on anything.

"There's a real danger for the future of the Fringe. One year of no festival was manageable, and we were able to keep it in hearts and minds and everybody still held that space in their calendar, as that annual moment for reconnection and getting together. At two years, you jeopardise the solid space the Fringe has held for 75 years.

"This is a moment when we're really looking to the Scottish Government to have that leap of faith and trust Fringe operators in the same way as they are trusting the hospitality sector to deliver services safely to the public."

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe was cancelled for the first time in its history last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Show registration for both online and in-person performances opened earlier this month for this year's Fringe which is taking place from August 6 to August 30 this year.

The results of the Scottish Government's review of the two-metre social distancing rule are expected to be announced before the planned move to Level 1 on June 7.