Edinburgh Fringe launches emergency appeal of £7.5m | Edinburgh Festival 2021

The Fringe of the Edinburgh Festival It has launched an emergency appeal of £7.5m after millions of pounds were lost during the Covid pandemic.

Festival directors said the crisis was having a devastating effect on the event, which until last year was the world’s largest annual arts festival. It closed completely in 2020 and this year has operated at a fifth of its normal size.

“The past 18 months have been the most challenging in the history of parties, and everyone – from artists and venues to the Fringe Society – has suffered a heavy toll,” said Shauna McCarthy, event CEO.

“[But] The 2021 downsizing occurred only because of emergency grants and, in many cases, loans that must now be repaid. We want to make sure that the party that returns reflects the world we live in – not just those who can afford to continue.”

Edinburgh’s major festivals – marginal, international and book festival – have run significantly shortened programs this month, offering a small portion of the normal number of productions, often in new outdoor venues.

They have relied heavily on delivering events online, mixing live shows with digital products to reach audiences that were otherwise denied access. EdinburghWith personal audiences greatly reduced due to social distancing rules.

As a result, parties say they face a much greater challenge in adapting to a post-Covid world than their peers.

Unlike international festivals and book festivals, which are smaller in size and organized entirely by their directors, festivals are a largely decentralized festival that relies on independent production companies, independent artists, and producers performing in independent venues.

While this increases its technical diversity, it also poses greater organizational, financial and technical challenges on the sidelines to become a viable hybrid live and digital event.

Many performers rely heavily on margin for income and to show their work to festivals and other producers. With this year’s festival ending on August 30, it has so far sold only 12,500 digital performance tickets.

McCarthy said she believes the group’s global popularity will allow it to expand online in the coming years, and digital offerings could also help reduce carbon emissions. “This is a real opportunity to highlight the founding principle of the Edinburgh fringes, which is to be open and accessible, and to really open them up to the world,” she said.

Parties said the appeal, which kicked off on Tuesday with a pledge of £150,000 from Edinburgh Jane Spirits, and another £160,000 from other donors, will go in part to support its artists and venues. investing in its digital and streaming products; increase the economic and technical sustainability of the event; and finding a new permanent home for the Fringe Society, its governing body, to help promote the performers.

Funding from the Edinburgh Gin is expected to come from profits generated from a new promotional partnership with Fleabag creator and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the group’s honorary president. Waller-Bridge designed a limited-edition Jane label.

Benny Higgins, a former banker and president of the Fringe Society, said the event was one of Scotland’s biggest cultural exports, but that it received little public funding.

“He lost an estimated £20m in 2020 alone,” he said. To make 2021 a reality, many operators have relied on emergency loans and grants. That’s not sustainable, and this campaign is about undoing some of that damage, while building a more equitable and affordable margin. This campaign will give us a foundation to do exactly that.”

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