Edinburgh Fringe 2020 cancelled due to Covid-19
Thursday, 2 April 2020
cover-option-effshighstreet2014credit-james-ratchfordPhoto: James Ratchford / LSi Archive
UK - The 2020 edition of Edinburgh Festival Fringe - the world's largest arts festival - has been cancelled due to public safety concerns arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also cancelled are the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
"Just a few months ago, the idea of Edinburgh without the Fringe and our sister festivals would have been totally unthinkable; now, like so many other aspects of our day-to-day lives, we must pause and take stock in the face of something far bigger," said Shona McCarthy, the chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.
"Our hearts go out to the doctors, nurses, health and social care professionals on the front line, to everyone working to keep the country going, and to those who have been directly affected by this pandemic. Your courage in the face of adversity is an inspiration to us all.
"My thoughts too are with the many thousands of artists, writers, producers, reviewers, venues and backstage crew whose careers have been put on hold over the past month or so. We know today’s decision will be a difficult one for many, but please know that we will continue to be here for you and will do everything we can to support you in the weeks and months ahead."
The organisers have committed to refunding all participant registration fees and any Fringe tickets and Friends memberships purchased by audience members. Participants who have already paid will be offered to carry over their show registration to the 2021 Fringe, to cover an equivalent show listing.
"Financially this has not been straightforward," added McCarthy. "But we believe that offering refunds is the right thing to do and will turn this around as quickly as possible. There will also be an option to donate all or part of your purchase to support artists and the work of the Fringe Society, but this will of course be entirely optional."
She concluded: "Whilst the Fringe and its sister festivals may not be able to provide a stage in the same way as before this summer, we are committed to working with artists and creatives from Edinburgh, Scotland and across the world to find new ways of uniting people under a Fringe umbrella. 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.
"The performing arts have an important role to play in providing a prism through which to process and understand the multiple traumas of this pandemic. Art has always helped shape and reshape how we think of ourselves, and will help now to pull through the threads that unite us as human beings in a globally shared experience."
Edinburgh's five August festivals comprise over 5,000 events across Scotland’s capital each summer, welcoming audiences of 4.4 million and over 25,000 artists, writers and performers from 70 countries, making them the second biggest cultural event in the world after the Olympics. 
The festivals’ history stretches back to 1947, where in the aftermath of the Second World War the Edinburgh International Festival was founded to reconcile and reunite people and nations through art, in an event that transcended political and cultural boundaries.
The Fringe story began when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to perform on the fringes of the very first International Festival. Since the dawn of this spontaneous artistic movement, millions have flocked to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to produce and enjoy art of every genre.
Edinburgh Fringe is set to return in 2021. For more information about the event's cancellation, visit: www.edfringe.com/covid-19

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