The Edinburgh Festival Fringe could still happen if lockdown restrictions are lifted

Organisers say they're still prepared should the situation allow

Organisers of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe have said that they could still host the event this summer, if lockdown restrictions are lifted in the city by August.

Earlier this week it was announced that all of the city’s cultural festivals were cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, including the Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival.

The Fringe Society said that because they are an “open access festival”, it “does not decide who can and cannot put on shows” and so cannot formally prevent the festival from taking place. So far, venues instead have been recommended to stop planning and offer refunds.


Now, however, the Fringe Society, which coordinates the festival’s official programme, has promised to run listings, sell tickets on its website and promote shows if there is enough demand from venues and artists.

Edinburgh Fringe
An Edinburgh Fringe entertainer CREDIT: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

In a message to companies, venues and artists published by Edinburgh Evening News, the society said today (April 3): “Should restrictions be lifted, public health officials deem it safe to do so, and venues and artists emerge in August with stages for work needing to be performed, we have plans in place to ensure we can support that as quickly and as much as we can.

“We could offer all our usual ticketing and show listings information online at as quickly and easily as possible. If budget considerations allow, we could undertake a local concentrated digital marketing campaign for audiences.”

The statement continues: “Right now, our core team will continue to support companies and venues by providing impartial, fact-based information and signposting to any advice and guidance which sit beyond our abilities and remit.

“We’ll also stay in touch with the media and arts industry as necessary to ensure your work remains as visible as possible.”

When Edinburgh’s festivals were initially cancelled Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy said: “We are confident that as a collective we can find a way to reach through the walls that currently surround us and inspire, cheer and connect.”
The festivals are just a handful of events cancelled across the world due to the coronavirus outbreak. You can find a full list of gigs, tours, and festivals that have been cancelled or postponed here.