Scottish Government awards Edinburgh Festival Fringe £1.2m in financial aid
| By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels
The world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe is set to receive some much-needed financial support from the Scottish Government. The news comes after the cultural event was forced to cancel its festivities for the first time in over seven decades due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Also cancelled were the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The newly announced support marks a pivotal step in ensuring that the show will go on.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe receives support from the Scottish Government
A funding package has been awarded to the Edinburgh Festival Fridge in a bid to help it get through the remainder of the year and through to 2021.
On behalf of the Scottish Government, Culture Secretary for Scotland Fiona Hyslop issued a statement on the news: "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."
A breakdown of the funding support for the Fringe Society
Out of the roughly £1.2m in support funds awarded to the Fringe Society, £1m will be in the form of an interest-free loan from the Scottish Government that will have to be repaid within in six years. The remainder of the funds is comprised of a £149,000 grant from the Pivotal Resilience Fund and another £100,000 grant from the City of Edinburgh Council. What's more, the Government will be working closely with the festivals in the Scottish Capital to strengthen their resilience in the coming years and to ensure the loan can be repaid without difficulty.
How will the Fringe Society use the financial aid package?
The funds 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."
Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, 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."
The legacy of the Edinburgh Fringe lives on!
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is often the seedbed for major West End hits and was recently responsible for the 2019 premiere of the popular Little Mermaid parody, Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula The Sea Witch, which just released an Original Fringe Cast Recording Album.
Other recent Edinburgh hits from the 2019 Fringe include Baby Reindeer, Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical, and Friendsical. Hopefully, now, the 2021 season will be another rave success!