Theatre News

Edinburgh Fringe given £1.2m support package by the Scottish Government and council

The arts festival will have much-needed support

The Edinburgh Fringe
The Edinburgh Fringe
© James Ratchford

The Edinburgh Fringe has been given a funding package to help it through to 2021.

In a new statement from the Scottish Government, culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has said: "This has been an extremely worrying time for people whose livelihoods, careers and wellbeing have been affected by COVID-19 and the cancellation of festivals such as the Fringe.

"I am one of many thousands of people who will miss the Fringe this year. It is one of Scotland's greatest cultural exports and this funding package will help ensure the world-renowned festival can bounce back in 2021. Many performers, cultural organisations and businesses rely on the festival and I hope it can build on its previous major successes to safely return to the international stage."

On top of a £1m interest-free loan from the Scottish Government, the Fringe Society will benefit from a £149,000 Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund grant and a £100,000 grant from City of Edinburgh Council. The loan will be repaid over the next six years, with the Government also working with the Edinburgh Festivals to strengthen the resilience of the events for future years.

The money will be used to "mitigate the significant losses incurred as a result of this year's festival not going ahead", as well as "to support the thousands of Fringe artists, companies and venues whose livelihoods have been affected".

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy said: "This funding is a life raft to the Fringe Society, enabling us to properly support the extensive ecosystem of artists, venues and businesses who rely on the Fringe. This festival is about much more than three weeks in August. It's an embodiment of how culture and creativity unites us, and in this incredibly difficult time, we're grateful to be working so closely with our partners at Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and City of Edinburgh Council on this common goal."