Edinburgh Fringe Given Major New Funding InjectionDate: 15 December 2008
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is to be given a £250,000 funding package to tackle cash-flow problems. The financial support comes in the aftermath of problems with the central box office system which created a backlog affecting tickets for hundreds of shows to this year's festival and led to the resignation of Fringe Director Jon Morgan (See News, 28 Aug 2008).
The support for what continues to be the world’s largest arts festival consists of a loan of £125,000 from Edinburgh City Council, a one-off grant of £65,000 from the Scottish Arts Council, an advance of £60,000 on future funding from the Scottish Government and specialist business analysis and development advice from Scottish Enterprise.
The four organisations will also form a monitoring group, setting a range of targets for the management of the Fringe. This follows the launch in August of an independent, government-back inquiry investigating both the failed box office system - supplied by Pivotal Engineering, which has now gone into administration – as well as the handling of the crisis by the Fringe Society, which has responsibility for running the festival (See News, 20 August 2008).
Fringe general manager Tim Hawkins said: “This very welcome support package will allow us to stabilise our immediate cash flow challenges. We look forward to building a strong relationship with funding partners which will allow us continue providing an economic benefit of over £100m to Edinburgh and the wider Scottish economy.”
Scotland’s Culture minister Linda Fabiani MSP commented: “Alongside the loan from the city council and the grant from the Scottish Arts Council, we are providing a one-off advance of future funding to provide stability and allow the Fringe to develop for the future. This reflects our shared confidence in the Fringe as it plans for another successful year in 2009, the year of Homecoming.”
The Fringe is still without a director following the resignation of Jon Morgan at the end of this year’s event after just over a year in the job. More than half a million people plan their August holidays each year around a trip to Edinburgh. Though commonly seen as one single festival, the event is in reality several different festivals of which the Fringe is by far the largest, representing 75% of the overall festival market share and annually generating around £75 million for the local economy.
- Joseph Pike