Edinburgh’s five festivals in August, which were set to welcome over 4.4 million people to the Scottish capital, have been cancelled as the coronavirus crisis continues.
The Fringe, which is the world’s biggest arts festival, has been shelved along with the city’s military tattoo and book, art and international festivals for the first time in its 72 year history.
In a statement, Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy said: “It’s too early to say what this will look like, but 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.”
An important update from Shona McCarthy, Chief Exec of the Fringe Societyhttps://t.co/HR3MP39ewv
— Edinburgh Festival Fringe (@edfringe) April 1, 2020
McCarthy added that refunds would be available for registration fees, tickets and memberships .
Although it has officially been shelved, it cannot be formally cancelled by the Fringe Society because it is an open access event – with venues instead recommended to stop planning and offers refunds.
A joint statement from the Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Underbelly and Pleasance, which are the Fringe’s best venues, said: “Whilst we are suspending our activity for the foreseeable future, if there is any chance that we might rekindle the spark of a festival fringe at our venues in August 2020 and rebuild an event for this summer, we will certainly try.”
It comes as events the UK continue to announce their cancellation or postponement as a result of the disease. As well as festivals such as Glastonbury and Isle of Wight announcing they will not take place, a full list of cancelled gigs can be found here.